Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has reportedly passed his physical, signed his contract, and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s officially the end of an era.
Tom Brady is no longer quarterback of the New England Patriots.
Just three days after he shocked the sports world by announcing his plans to depart the only team he’s ever known — on St. Patrick’s Day, no less — the 42-year-old signal-caller has officially passed his physical, signed his contract, and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
Brady’s son Jack captured the moment for him on Instagram, taking a photo of his father signing the historic new deal:
Brady started off the post by noting that he’s “excited, humble and hungry” for this next chapter of his journey.
He immediately replaces Jameis Winston as QB1 for the Buccaneers, and joins a promising offensive cast captained by head coach Bruce Arians. Brady’s top receiving threats in Tampa — Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate — are all significant upgrades over what he had this past season in New England.
It’s still a strange and surreal idea: the notion of Brady running out onto the field this fall, not in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium in blue, silver, red and white, but in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium in red, orange, black, white, and pewter.
Stranger still, there are rumors that the Bucs could be switching to their classic orange parfait creamsicle throwback uniforms full-time this season. Wouldn’t that be strange to see Brady in that get-up?
He might not even be wearing No. 12. While it’s likely that Godwin, who currently dons that jersey number, will give it up if Brady asks, Godwin told the media that Brady hasn’t asked yet. He also noted that he’d prefer to hold onto the number if Brady doesn’t care about it.
We shall see.
From a Patriots fan standpoint, we’re now in the unique position of having to cheer on Brady and his former head coach Bill Belichick as two separate entities.
While the rest of the sports world and fandom looks on curiously to see if this divorce actually reveals who was more responsible for the Patriots’ dynastic success these past 20 years, many New Englanders will find themselves pulling double-duty this season: watching Pats games as well as Bucs games, and perhaps cheering on both teams.
Tampa has but one Super Bowl championship in its history, which came courtesy of Jon Gruden back in 2002 (Super Bowl 37). Interestingly, that victory was the one that broke up the Pats’ early run of winning three championships in four seasons.
Brady will attempt to deliver a second title to one of the worst franchises in the league (in terms of historical winning percentage).
He has two years on his contract to do so before he reaches that magical age of 44/45 that he’s long proclaimed as being his potential “end point” for retirement — though who knows what he’ll say if he’s still playing at a high level come this time in 2022.
Belichick will have to regroup with what remains of an elite NFL defense and a middling offense. He’ll also now be tasked with turning the keys of that offense over to an unknown quantity — either second-year man Jarrett Stidham or somebody else entirely.