There’s just no doubting that Tom Brady is the most successful NFL quarterback of all-time. He’s an unprecedented six-time Super Bowl winner. He’s the oldest quarterback in history to bring home a ring. The only QB to reach 200 regular-season wins, Brady has never had a losing season as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Brady’s a living icon. He has also been the face of the Patriots for 20 years. The two are synonymous, and you probably either love both or hate both. However, now he’s leaving as a free agent for pastures new. The ambitious Tampa Bay Buccaneers have snared themselves a legend to the tune of two years at $30 million per season.
But despite the historically successful winning culture, there are many reasons why Brady left the Patriots and joined the Bucs. From fallouts with head coach Bill Belichick to mega-money in Florida, find out why Brady will have a new team in the list below.
20. Washed Up?
The first and most obvious reason is his age. Brady is now 43 years old and the Patriots are a relentless winning machine. Is he as effective now as he was when he was in his prime? In short, of course not. He didn’t have a great season by his standards last year. Of course, you could argue his weapons were the worst of his lengthy career too. That’s no slight on the most successful quarterback in NFL history.
It’s just how life goes. But can he do a job for another franchise? Of course, he can. He’s still better than many of the league’s QBs and has invaluable experience. However, he’s of less value now to the Patriots than ever before in his career. It makes total sense for both parties to finally cut ties.
With the Patriots in transition after a disappointing 2019-20 campaign, the time is right for Brady to seek new and fresh pastures. He has the adoration of New England fans, but it would be a shame if he were to lose next season with a drop-off in performance. No, the time was right to step away from that environment.
There may even have been resentment towards him if he had stayed. Now the Patriots have a chance to reinvigorate their roster and bring a potential star in for the future. Even if he fails to make much of an impact with his new franchise, Brady’s time with the Patriots will be untainted.
It’s not just Brady who has his legacy to worry about. The Patriots have a rebuilding job on their hands, at least for them. Rob Gronkowski retired before the 2019 season. Josh Gordon endured injuries, release, and suspension in a disaster of a season before he was traded. Antonio Brown’s tenure in New England lasted one game.
In short, the Patriots have a lot of problems to sort out. Cutting ties with Brady makes sense because they’ll save money and can spread the love. Will they have his individual quality? Of course not, but it could make for a stronger roster overall. At least, that’s what they’re hoping.
A significant reason why Brady is moving is that he couldn’t reach a deal with the Patriots. They weren’t willing to offer him the number of years he wanted or the high salary he’s pushing for. Basically, he had to take one or the other. Tampa will offer him both $30 million a year and a multi-year contract.
Considering he’s 43, you can’t blame the Pats for not wanting to pour that amount of investment into him. He’s likely to get more injuries as he ages while they need to reinvest in their overall roster. But Brady wasn’t willing to back down for the sake of sentiment.
Brady’s working relationship with Bill Belichick has got steadily worse over the past couple of years. It goes all the way back to 2017 when the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo. In short, Belichick had Garoppolo marked as Brady’s long-term successor. However, it all got very messy.
General Manager Robert Kraft intervened. First of all, he made it clear to Belichick that the starting QB spot was Brady’s. From a business standpoint, you can understand why he wanted the veteran to play. Belichick and Brady have resented each other behind the scenes ever since.
Another major factor in souring Brady’s relationship with Belichick was this incident. Guerrero is an Argentinian practitioner of holistic and alternative medicine. He’s also a very close friend and business partner of Brady’s. In short, this got him unprecedented access to the team plane and even sideline privileges.
However, all of a sudden Belichick cut these benefits off. Guerrero’s unorthodox methods were popular with several Patriots players but brought him into conflict with the team medical staff. Belichick made it clear that he will stand by his own people. To sum up, Brady has never forgiven him.
Famously married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, Brady is a very lucky man. However, after a decade of living in New England, you can understand why she’d be happy to make a move to a warmer climate. Boston has beautiful seasons but has a tough winter to endure.
Hailing from the tropical Rio Grande do Sul, Bundchen is probably looking forward to being close to the beach again one day. Tampa Bay could be perfect for her, so you can expect her to be behind her husband all the way. At this point in their lives, it’s about what’s best for them.
Brady is eminently hateable because he is the face of the Patriots and was so good for so long. However, he is a nice guy who keeps a low profile – or as low a profile as you can keep being married to a supermodel. Make no mistake though, Brady does have a high sense of self-worth and this has brought him into further conflict with Belichick.
Belichick treats every player the same. But if you’re negotiating with your 20-year quarterback, then maybe that’s not such a good idea. Brady commands more respect than that because he’s a living legend. He’s 10 years older than Sean McVay, the youngest coach in the NFL. In short, their phone calls didn’t last long.
Of all the franchises in the NFL, why did Brady choose Tampa? First of all, they’ve got some tremendously exciting offensive weapons. The Buccaneers currently have a situation that Brady could thrive in with skill players like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate.
Evans and Godwin finished the year with more receiving yardage (2,490) than the Patriots’ top five wide receivers combined. That will definitely be exciting for Brady coming from the stale environment in New England. All of a sudden things are warming up on the East Coast.
Forget about Gisele for a minute, what about Brady? He’s been in New England for 20 years. That’s a long time for anybody to stay anywhere. Is it really that surprising that he wants to try something new before he retires? With six Super Bowl wins to his name and infinite individual accolades, it’s the right moment.
The likely move to Florida will be a chance for him to reboot. In sum, it may even reinvigorate him as he looks to extend his playing career into uncharted territory. It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do for you. This is an exciting time for Brady.
Brady has another good reason for picking Tampa. It’s the perfect place to sell his TB12 merchandise because the player and franchise obviously share the same initials. Is it a primary reason? No, of course not, but it’s definitely a nice bonus and one that he can take advantage of.
Sales of his products will definitely go through the roof. For a player with fewer individual endorsements than you might expect, this is significant. Brady has always been more about building his own brand than enhancing other people’s. In sum, this is a great financial move.
We all know by now that Brady isn’t getting any younger. The oldest players in NFL history have almost all been quarterbacks or placekickers. Even if he does, he surely only has a short competitive window of opportunity available.
The same goes for his new coach Bruce Arian. If he wants to win now, then time is of the essence. He’s 67 and has had health problems in the past. The time for the Buccaneers to make waves is now and not in five years. This could be an exciting combination.
One thing that Brady has never achieved is a home Super Bowl win. With the showpiece event set to go down in ‘Ray Jay’ next year, there’s never going to be a better opportunity. You can tell that the Buccaneers are thinking this way too. All the pieces are falling into place.
With Brady’s veteran experience and leadership, they’ll hope that he can inspire them to a first Super Bowl since 2002. Of course, it won’t be easy but these are the risks you have to take. With millions in the bank, they can afford to sign some pricey players. The draft is going to be fascinating too.
The Bucs had the second-worst attendance in the NFL last year. On average, Raymond James Stadium was only 79.1% full for Bucs home games in 2019, which was only better than the Bengals. If you don’t think the owners need a boost, you’re wrong.
There’s a reason the Chargers wanted him so badly. But the Buccaneers need him even more. With Brady involved, there’s a strong chance that Ray Jay will be a sell-out all season. Is it an expensive gamble? Yes, of course, but that’s what you’ve got to do to compete.
The Bucs were very busy in the NFL’s tampering period. They franchise-tagged Shaq Barrett and also signed Jason Pierre-Paul to an extension. But they’ve still got $60 million in the pot. That’s more than enough to lure in Brady and add some weapons to an increasingly exciting roster.
We already mentioned that he wasn’t willing to meet the Patriots’ terms. It appears that he has no such issues with Tampa, who have the money to entice him. It’s highly likely they’ll further strengthen the offense by getting a running back and an offensive lineman. We’re watching with interest.
This is going to be the last big contract of Brady’s career. Of course, he’s already worth millions, but the Bucs are going to put a cherry on top of it all. The best part of it is that he’s going to be living in Florida. When you’re a resident of the Sunshine State you don’t have to pay income tax.
Compare that to California, where Brady would have to pay 13% tax on all of his earnings. That’s a massive difference. If you’re looking at staying rich for the rest of your life then Florida is a very good place to live. You can guarantee this was a factor in his thinking.
Jameis Winston threw more interceptions last year than Brady did over the entire past four years. There’s no doubt that he’s an upgrade on the man he’s replacing. Furthermore, the Bucs’ style of play is perhaps more suited to an aging Brady than the Patriots’ way.
New England’s passing game in recent years consisted mainly of underneath passes, quick-game throws, and screens to running back. However, Tampa Bay is looking to be less offensive this year but more consistent. Expect a more methodical approach than their usual explosive approach.
We’ve mentioned a couple of reasons why Belichick and Brady don’t get along. However, this is one of the most serious of them all. Who is most responsible for their legacy? Brady plans to push Tampa Bay over the edge into contention. If he can do this, then it will be a massive statement that he’s not finished.
Pressure will be on Belichick after the Patriots fell short last year. He’s got a rebuilding job on his hands and the pressure is on to find a good replacement for Brady. To be fair, the answer to who is most responsible for their success is definitely in the middle.
In short, all good things come to an end. Right now Brady gets to walk away with his head held high. He’s a hero in New England and rightly so. But the truth is that he only had another season at most in Boston. It’s better to leave by choice and with dignity.
Furthermore, this way he gets to keep his value. Another season like last year’s with the Patriots would have a knock-on effect on future salary demands. People would say that he’s past it and he’d struggle to push past $20 million per year. To sum up, it makes sense.
Finally, Brady just really loves football. There’s a reason why he’s a 20-year veteran of the game. He could easily walk away from the sport and still make bagfuls of dollars but he’s happy to put his body on the line again and again. It’s really quite inspiring.
Even though he’s 43, he hasn’t lost the hunger to win and compete. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will give him a chance to play with a bit more freedom than over the past couple of years. Retirement lasts for a very long time, so he’s just going to make the most of it while he still can.