Just hours after announcing he would not be returning to the New England Patriots, Tom Brady found his next destination. TB12 is on his way to T.B.
Brady has finalized an agreement to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a deal worth roughly $30 million per year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed.
Brady's big move down south comes after a whirlwind day of speculation. Brady announced early Tuesday morning that he would not return to the Patriots in 2020 but a verbal decision on where the QB would land was not expected until Wednesday at the earliest.
The Chargers and Bucs immediately became the two most likely destinations for Brady after the Tennessee Titans extended Ryan Tannehill on Sunday and Brady made his league-shattering announcement on Tuesday morning. After all, Los Angeles had let Philip Rivers walk into free agency and into an Indianapolis Colts uniform this offseason, while Tampa Bay had played coy about its attachment to impending free agent Jameis Winston since the combine.
Around 6 p.m. ET, NFL Network's Jim Trotter reported the Chargers believed they were out of the running for Brady, whose priority was to stay on the east coast because of family considerations.
Just minutes later, Brady had an agreement in principle with the Bucs.
And so begins Brady's second act, 21 seasons into his storied career.
A six-time Super Bowl champion, 14-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro and three-time MVP with the Patriots, Brady is joining, in Tampa Bay, an outfit that has not made the playoffs since 2007. The difference in winning culture between New England and Tampa Bay could not be more stark, but it's one Bucs brass is hoping Brady can mitigate immediately.
Brady will inherit the third-ranked total and scoring offense from 2019 with weapons he hasn't seen in New England since the Randy Moss era. Tampa Bay is returning two 1,000-yard receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, two pass-catching tight ends in O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate and a rising running back in Ronald Jones. Far more explosive than the Patriots attack of years past, Brady surely took Tampa's talent into consideration when exploring his next destination.
The Buccaneers will assuredly not be bringing back Jameis Winston, the former first-overall pick and their starter for the last five seasons. An impending free agent, Winston wore out his welcome in Tampa Bay. As often as he threatened defenses with his aerial prowess, Winston threatened his own offense with mental errors.
The Bucs QB threw 88 interceptions to 121 touchdowns over his stay in Tampa Bay. In 2019, he led the league in attempts (626) and passing yards (5,109), but also led the NFL in interceptions, becoming the first QB to throw for 30 TDs and 30 picks in the same season.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians, whose "no risk it, no biscuit" style seemed to jive with Winston, said after the season that Tampa Bay would explore all options under center. Those options included bringing Brady, a far steadier hand and inarguably the sport's greatest game-manager, into the building.
Winston will now hit free agency when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, the latest casualty of the quarterback carousel.
Brady, on the other hand, won't be a free agent for long. Entering his age-43 season, the future Hall of Famer won't spend much time on the open market when the new league year begins and his move to Tampa Bay becomes officially official.
"Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady." We'll get used to it eventually.