New England Patriots

Brady's Bucs Deal Official

Tom Brady's 21st NFL season will officially take place outside of New England.

The 42-year-old quarterback signed his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, bringing an end to his career with the Patriots.

It's a two-year pact between Brady and the Bucs, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, which guarantees Brady $50 million and the chance to earn another $9 million in incentives. Brady cannot be traded or franchise tagged under terms of the contract.

Tampa Bay finished 7-9 last season, missing the postseason for the 12th year in a row. Only the Cleveland Browns have a longer active drought at 17 seasons.

It's been even longer since the Bucs won a playoff game -- Tampa's last postseason win was Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season, or one year after Brady won his first championship with the Patriots.

The Bucs have been among the more irrelevant franchises in the NFL throughout their history, but especially over the last dozen years or so. Tampa Bay hasn't hosted a Sunday Night Football game, part of the NFL's marquee broadcast package, since 2008, and the team has made only one appearance on the program as a visitor since.

The Bucs finished 31st among 32 teams in attendance in 2019, filling Raymond James Stadium to an average capacity of 79.2%, ahead of only the Cincinnati Bengals.

Safe to say that'll be changing in 2020, when the Brady-led Bucs will host the Drew Brees-led Saints, Aaron Rodgers-led Packers, Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs and Matt Ryan-led Falcons in a rematch of Super Bowl LI. Tampa Bay also plays at New Orleans and Atlanta in the NFC South and will also play on the road in Las Vegas in the Raiders' first season in Sin City.

Just about every game on Tampa's schedule is filled with at least some intrigue now based on the presence of Brady, who's won as many Super Bowls (six) as the Bucs have won playoff games in their 45-year history.

Tampa Bay hosts the Chargers, another team linked to Brady in free agency, as well as the Rams, whom Brady defeated in the Super Bowl when they were based in both St. Louis and Los Angeles. The Bucs travel to Detroit, where longtime Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is the head coach, as well as New York to face the Giants, who dealt Brady two of his three losses in the Super Bowl.

Under the NFL's current scheduling template, Tampa Bay is scheduled to travel to Gillette Stadium in 2021.

"Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history of our league, but what makes him so special is his ability to make those around him better," Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said in a statement. "I've had the privilege to work with some of the best passers in our game, and the characteristics they all possessed were the ability to lead and get the best out of their teammates. Tom is no different."

Brady will replace Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, under center for Tampa. Winston threw more interceptions in 2019 (30) than Brady has thrown over the last four seasons (29) combined.

Winston did lead the NFL in passing yards last season, with 5,109, boasting a pair of 1,000-yard wideouts in Chris Godwin (86 catches, 1,333 yards) and Mike Evans (67 catches, 1,157 yards).

Godwin, who just turned 24 last month, was drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round in the 2017 draft -- one spot after the Patriots selected Derek Rivers, and one spot before they took Antonio Garcia.

Brady's migration to Florida brings an end to a career in New England in which he'd become one of five players in league history to spend 20 years with a single organization. He'll remain one year shy of the record, held by Lions kicker Jason Hanson, who spent all 21 years of his career with Detroit from 1992-2012.

Replacing Brady moves to the forefront of New England's to-do list this off-season. Currently, the Patriots have two quarterbacks on their roster: Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round draft pick of the team in 2019, and Cody Kessler, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2016.

Contact Us