Updated: Mar 23
Analyzing five reasons why Tom Brady chose to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After twenty years, eighteen seasons, seventeen AFC East titles, nine AFC titles, and six Super Bowl wins with the Patriots, Tom Brady is leaving New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yup, you heard that right, he's going to the Bucs. The same Bucs who haven't won their division since 2007, and who have had a winning season once in the last ten years. So what happened? What made the greatest quarterback of all time, on the greatest dynasty of all time, want to go to one of the most dismal franchises in the NFL?
Patriots: Tom Brady wants weapons. For his whole career he has been making average wide receivers great. He has had some extremely talented players, but this Patriots team is pretty devoid of elite offensive skill. His main weapon, Julian Edelman, while a fan favorite, and 1,000 plus yard receiver, is banged up. Name a body part, and I guarantee you Edelman is hurt there. He plays through it all of course, but because of that, is simply never at 100%.
Brady's next three wide receivers last season behind Edelman were Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, and Josh Gordon. None of them reached 400 receiving yards. Dorsett is fast, but small. He struggles to find space with and without the ball. He is a very average player. Meyers was an undrafted rookie who shone in training camp, but had a surprisingly little amount of skill, and who Brady had zero trust in. Like Dorsett, he struggled to get open. And lastly, Josh Gordon. Well, we all know how this story goes: Loads of talent, but just does not have the mindset to stay on the field. He played six games before being cut.
While getting open was a huge, and frustrating problem for the Patriots last season, it doesn't even compare to their primary issue: drops! Many people criticized Brady's low numbers, but what they failed to realize was that the Patriots led the league in drops. A veteran of twenty years does not appreciate his young wide receivers dropping his passes.
Buccaneers: We all know the type of weapons that Tampa Bay has, and this has got to be one of the main reasons that Brady chose the Bucs. Their wide receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is simply the best in the league. In his six NFL seasons, Evans has never fallen below 1,000 yards, and his 6'5", 230lb frame make him almost un-guardable as a wide receiver. Godwin emerged last year with 1,333 receiving yards, which ranked him third in the entire league. Another important thing to note is that both wide receivers stay on the field. Neither has missed more than three games in a season in their whole careers.
At tight end, the Bucs have another strong offensive weapon in O.J. Howard. He might not put up gaudy numbers, but you can count on him to get around 500 yards every year. He finished last season really strong, and with Brady, who loves his tight ends, you could definitely see a rise in his targets and yards numbers next season. Tampa doesn't have a dominant running back per say, but neither did the Patriots (don't get me started on Sony Michel), so you're not really losing anything there.
Patriots: While Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, I don't think anyone can deny that at this point, there is a serious rift between him and Brady. I believe that it all started when Belichick wanted to keep Jimmy Garroppolo over Brady a few years ago, but Robert Kraft basically prohibited that from happening. While we can't believe much we see in the media about Belichick and Brady, things are not perfect. Belichick treats all his players the same way, and Brady is probably tired of it. In addition, Belichick does not overpay for anyone, and that includes the greatest quarterback of all time, but we'll get back to that later.
Buccaneers: Many people seem to think that Bruce Arians basically just runs go routes, and maybe that was Jameis Winston's league leading 30 interceptions' fault, but that is not true. Arians likes to have receivers on many levels, and I think that will play to Brady's strengths. And while Brady didn't throw down field a ton last year, that was more due to his wide receivers than a weakening arm. Last season Winston led the league in passing attempts, so that will make Brady happy as well. Brady will listen to you if he respects you, and if Arians is able to garner that respect from Brady, then they should have a very good relationship.
Surprisingly, money turned out to be a very small factor in Brady's decision. His contract with the Buccaneers is for two years, and a total of $50 million, with another $9 million in incentives. It is very likely that the Patriots would have given him that money (and probably the LA Chargers as well), so this really proves that Tampa Bay is the place he wanted to be.
I don't think that anyone is going to deny that the weather in Tampa Bay is a little "easier" than in New England. That must be one of the reasons the Brady family chose the Bucs.
5. Other Teams:
San Francisco 49ers: When I first heard rumors that the 49ers might be interested in Brady, my first thought was "why?". Jimmy Garroppolo, while he might not be a superstar, just took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Last season, his first full year in the league, he had the eighth best QB rating, fifth most touchdowns, and fifth best completion percentage in the league. People complained about his thirteen interceptions, but he was basically a rookie, so cut him some slack. He's just going to keep getting better, and San Francisco would have to be stupid to choose a going on 43 year old over him.
I do believe though that the 49ers were Brady's first choice as to where he wanted to go. After all, San Francisco is his hometown, and the team has a great chance to contend for another Super Bowl.
Tennessee Titans: The media's dreams of a Mike Vrabel, Tom Brady reunion were dashed when the Titans resigned Ryan Tannehill to a four year, $118 million deal ($29.5 per year). For a while it seemed like the most likely place Brady would go was Tennessee, but they decided to stick with their guy. In my opinion though, $29.5 is way too much for Tannehill. What you saw last year in him taking the Titans to the AFC Championship was the best he will ever be. He is a very average QB.
I'm going to be honest: I did not think Brady would ever go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When it was clear that neither the Titans or 49ers were going to sign him, I thought for sure that meant he was coming back to New England. Even now, it is hard for me to grasp that he is no longer a Patriot. To be frank, I think it's a mistake. I think it diminishes his legacy. He is still the G.O.A.T., but the fact that the greatest of all time ended his career in Tampa is a bit disappointing. That's just my two cents.