Tom Brady Becomes a Tampa Bay Buccaneer
Tom Brady, the only N.F.L. quarterback to win six Super Bowls, is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After telling the New England Patriots, the only club he has played for in his 20-year career, that he would not return to the team this week, Brady posted to Instagram a picture of his signing a new contract with Tampa Bay.
“I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the @buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do,” Brady wrote.
The deal, which had been expected to be completed since reports leaked on Tuesday, is a multi-year contract with the 42-year-old quarterback, according to a statement released by the Buccaneers.
“I’ve known Tom since we drafted him in New England 20 years ago and through this process it became very clear that his desire to be a champion burns as strong today as it ever has,” said Jason Licht, Tampa Bay’s general manager. Licht was a scout for the Patriots when the team drafted Brady in 2000.
The deal is by far the most momentous of an already busy off-season in which several teams, including the Chargers, Colts and Panthers, have sought new quarterbacks. But with six rings and no desire to slow down, Brady is easily the biggest acquisition in the Tampa Bay franchise’s 44-year history.
Brady, who turns 43 in August, will be out to show that he can lead a team not overseen by Bill Belichick, his only head coach in the pros. In a league with a salary cap that limits how much each teams can spend on its entire roster, Brady has several times avoided the free agency market and took less money to remain in New England before entering free agency this season.
For months, Brady was asked whether he would finish his career with the Patriots, an outcome that looked less and less likely as the 2019 season went on. Brady said several times last year that he wanted to return to New England, but Belichick would not give a firm commitment.
Several teams were thought to be seeking Brady, including the Los Angeles Chargers, who need to replace Philip Rivers, their longtime quarterback. Rivers has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Buccaneers joined the hunt for Brady after appearing to have lost patience with quarterback Jameis Winston, who is an unrestricted free agent. Their head coach, Bruce Arians, is considered an offensive mastermind, having led high-powered offenses in Pittsburgh and Arizona. He was also Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach in Indianpolis. Last season, Arians’s first with Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers had the third-best offense in the N.F.L., averaging nearly 400 yards a game. Wide receiver Chris Godwin averaged 95 receiving yards per game, the second most in the league.
Successful second acts are hard, though. Only a handful of marquee quarterbacks have left their longtime teams and won Super Bowl titles elsewhere.