By Camryn Payne
On March 17, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made a shocking announcement. The forty-two-year-old announced that he would not be re-signing with the Patriots. That meant for the first time in his twenty-year career, Brady would become an unrestricted free agent. This sent shock waves through the NFL as it seemed that whoever could sign the greatest of all time would become an instant Superbowl contender. But Brady wouldn’t keep the sports world guessing for long about where he was heading.
On the same day of Brady’s announcement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had won the Brady sweepstakes. Brady and the Buccaneers agreed to a two-year deal that would pay Brady $50 million over the next two years and includes a no-trade or franchise tag clause. This signing makes the Buccaneers an instant contender based on what Brady can bring to the table in terms of his leadership, winning pedigree, and protecting the football. With the addition of Brady to an offense that already had playmakers in Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers should be a fun team to watch for the next couple of years.
Of course, with Brady heading to the Buccaneers, there is a huge void to be filled by the Patriots. Even though the Patriots have a knack to take unproven players and make something of them, there’s a feeling that they won’t be able to replicate what they had with Brady. This is due to Brady’s nature of constantly wanting to prove the doubters wrong, even though he has nothing left to prove. But it should be interesting to see if the Patriots will bring in a veteran quarterback, like Andy Dalton. Or take a chance at drafting a quarterback that will fall into the later rounds, like Jake Fromm or Jalen Hurts.
With football owners, coaches, players, and fans only a few days into a wild NFL free agency period, this news by far takes the case as the biggest move of the off-season.