Tampa Bay Buccaneers Win the Tom Brady Lottery - Contract Details
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Looks like the oddsmakers got it right, as the NFL has just broken the news that free agent GOAT Tom Brady has agreed (in principle) to play quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2020 NFL season.
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2020
The Bucs had been given the best odds to snag Brady, a 43-year-old future Hall-of-Famer who already has six Championship rings and plenty of extra fingers for more, but for a painfully long time, it was anyone’s guess as to which team Brady was actually going to choose in the end.
Now Brady and his new head coach, Bruce Arians, himself a 2x Super Bowl winner, will get the chance to work together to earn another Lombardi Trophy (or three) and we take a quick peek at what this means.
What Does “agreed in principle” Mean in Brady’s Case?
Technically, the 2020 NFL season doesn’t start until Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 pm, but starting on Monday the various teams are permitted to do what’s called “legal tampering.”
That means they can contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who are about to become Unrestricted Free Agents, such as Tom Brady.
On Tuesday, Brady announced to the world that he was leaving the New England Patriots and not long after that, apparently, he and the Bucs ‘agreed in principle’ that once the season officially starts, he would sign with them.
How Much Will Brady Be Paid with the Bucs?
The deal is reportedly worth $30 million per year, but so far it has not been released exactly how many seasons the contract is for, though Brady has told the media in the past that his plans are to play football until he turns 45-years-old, which doesn’t happen for a couple more years.
That amount, $30 million per year, puts Brady tied with the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan for 7th on the list of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks, with the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson at number one on that list, earning $35 million per season.
This new salary for Brady represents a nice healthy bump in pay over the $23 million he earned last season and the $15 million he earned in each of the prior two seasons, all hometown discounts he allowed in order to be able to afford some other higher-level talent on the team.
Who Will Play Quarterback for New England Now?
It has not been made clear who will be under center for Bill Belichick in New England next season, though Jarrett Stidham is now listed as the starter and Cody Kessler as his backup.
Currently, the Patriots have the 23rd pick in the upcoming NFL draft, which is quarterback rich, but there are enough teams who need desperately to fill that position who are ahead of New England that chances are all the best at that position will already be selected by the time it becomes their pick.
The Pats could also use free agency to sign their next quarterback, and right now the top names on that list are Philip Rivers, Eli Manning and Jameis Winston, all three of whom could use a new home and a genius like Belichick to help them rediscover their earlier magic.
Is Tom Brady a Good Fit for Tampa Bay?
Last season, the Buccaneers seemed like a team that was a quarterback away from being dangerous, but all the interceptions that Winston threw (30) kept them from winning and begin taken too seriously.
With an accurate veteran with a quick release like Brady has, suddenly the Buccaneers’ offensive targets look even scarier than they did with Winston throwing the football all over the place.
Bucs receivers Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate combined were the number one overall ranked passing offense in the league last season, and with a veteran like Brady throwing the ball and leading the team, that same squad could start winning a lot of games.
How Well Will Brady and Arians Get Along?
Of course, there’s no telling that at this point in their relationship, but it helps that Bruce Arians has been coaching in the league a long time (since 1988) and, like Brady, he is a proven winner who understands how to get the most out of the players on his team.
Both Arians and Brady play football to win, not to “not lose,” and that common aggressive winning philosophy should give them both plenty of things to agree on when game planning for each matchup.
Arians is known to develop special relationships with his quarterbacks (in fact they call him the ‘quarterback whisperer’) and after two seasons of failing to get Winston to throw the ball to his own team, having Brady under center should be a refreshing change of pace.
Can the Buccaneers Win with Brady Under Center?
Six of Tampa Bay’s nine losses last season were by a single score or less, so they were in those games right to the end and could have won any or all of them with a better quarterback than Winston.
Last season Brady’s biggest complaint in New England was the lack of veteran playmakers and receivers who could run accurate and consistent routes, something that prevented him from being able to perform the miracles he’d gotten used to.
Now Brady has the talent surrounding him and the Buccaneers will have the GOAT calling out their offensive signals, so it could get interesting in the NFC South in 2020, especially with Drew Brees returning to New Orleans to play with his always dangerous Saints.