Report: Brady to leave Patriots for Buccaneers
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady will leave New England, where he and the Patriots won six Super Bowl titles during a glorious 20-year run, and sign a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to multiple reports Tuesday.
Just more proof we’re indeed living in the strangest of times.
The decorated 42-year-old quarterback from San Mateo, already considered by many as the game’s greatest ever at his position, stunned the sports world Tuesday morning by officially saying goodbye to the only NFL franchise he’s ever
“My football journey will take me elsewhere,” Brady said in an Instagram post while giving thanks to all in a farewell to the Boston area.
ESPN first reported Brady will head south for Tampa to continue a career he hopes will last until he’s at least 45. The NFL Network reported Tuesday night Brady and the Bucs have “agreed in principle” on a contract.
The Los Angeles Chargers were rumored to be among the most aggressive of Brady’s suitors, but they were reportedly told Tuesday he still preferred to keep his family back east during football season.
Wednesday is the first day of the NFL season, when players can officially sign free-agent contracts and make trades. Brady is expected to put pen to paper and become the day’s biggest newsmaker.
Brady, a former Serra High of San Mateo star who grew up a diehard 49ers fan and reportedly wanted the next step of his storied career to take place with
the 49ers, settles for a still decent opportunity for success in Florida.
The Buccaneers, who finished third in the NFC South with a 7-9 record under the direction of mistake-prone quarterback Jameis Winston, could be a force in the conference with Brady and a solid defense.
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht would only acknowledge to ESPN his team has been in touch with Brady but that no deal was in place as of Tuesday morning.
“We’re waiting to see what Tom decides just like everybody else,” Licht said.
Nonetheless, after years of taking team-friendly contracts to help the Patriots dynasty endure, Brady is expected to now earn more than $30 per season on his new deal.
That’s still a pretty decent deal for the Buccaneers in order to bring aboard a 14-time Pro Bowler, sixtime Super Bowl champ and three-time league MVP.
Brady will replace Winston, who threw for 5,109
yards and 33 touchdowns for the Bucs, but offset that with a league-leading 30 interceptions. During his five seasons with Tampa Bay, no one in the league has had more turnovers than Winston, who has an astounding 111 turnovers in 72 career games — an average of 22 giveaways per year.
Brady, though, also showed a bit of a decline this past season as his 88.0 quarterback rating was his second-lowest in the past 11
years. Brady still threw for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and just eight interceptions to help lead the Patriots to a 12-4 record and their 17th AFC East title in 20 years. No quarterback in league history has won more division titles — or Super Bowl titles — for one team.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft told ESPN that Brady informed him Monday night he was moving on.
“Tommy initiated contact last night and came over.
We had a positive, respectful discussion,” Kraft said. “It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who’s teamed with Brady to form the winningest coach/quarterback duo in NFL history, released a statement in which he honored his now former quarterback.
“Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation,” Belichick said. “Tom’s success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional.”
In closing, Belichick said it was a “privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.”
The most touching response to Brady’s decision to leave the Patriots came from a fellow star from San Mateo County, teammate Julian Edelman of Redwood City.
Edelman’s message was a brief one as he captioned a picture of himself jogging alongside Brady with just one word: “Family.”
Brady commented on Edelman’s post by simply saying, “Love you Jules.”
Tom Brady, left, hugs coach Bill Belichick after the 2018AFC championship game against the Jaguars in Foxborough, Mass. The 42-year-old quarterback with six Super Bowl rings said Tuesday morning that he is leaving the New England Patriots.