Fans in Foxboro were always hopeful that Tom Brady would one day retire in a New England Patriots uniform. Due to reported mounting friction with Bill Belichick and the organization, though, that never happened.
After Brady and the Buccaneers were bounced out of the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion by the eventual champion Rams, the legendary quarterback announced his retirement, albeit after some premature reporting on ESPN’s part.
While the immediate aftermath was spent celebrating Brady’s career, the conversation quickly shifted to speculation about a return. After all, on his “Let’s Go!” podcast, Brady himself didn’t fully shut the door on retirement.
Now, folks can’t help but speculate if (or when) Brady will make a comeback. Some have even gone as far as to predict his next team.
The bottom line is this isn’t going away anytime soon, and NFL Network’s Mike Girardi’s latest scoop on Brady’s retirement proves that.
Was Patriots legend Tom Brady forced into retirement?
Here’s what Giardi had to say about Brady being “forced” into retirement.
"A lot of people feel like Brady was almost forced in that direction And (he) doesn’t wanna go in that direction just yet.I think the other thing, in talking to some people who know him very well, the situation in Tampa — they ran it back last year; they didn’t win a title. Now, there’s some cap concerns. Can they bring everybody back?It doesn’t seem that’s gonna be the case. Maybe, just maybe, Tom Brady is looking elsewhere, and saying, ‘I can’t win a title here, but maybe I can win one elsewhere.’ And I think that’s something to follow here during the course of the offseason, because again, he did not close the door on playing football."
That’s a lot to unpack, but the main takeaway is the term “forced” being thrown around. Since Brady’s announcement, fans have taken to Twitter in droves to lay the blame on the end of Brady’s wife Gisele Bündchen.
While she might be happy with the decision, that doesn’t necessarily mean she pushed Brady over the edge to retire.
On the football side of things, though, Tampa Bay’s hideous cap situation might’ve been the driving force behind Brady’s decision. This season, the Buccaneers returned all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning 2021 roster.
That isn’t happening again. As of this writing, the Bucs have $6.78 million in cap space, which ranks 20th in the NFL and have several key pieces hitting free agency, including Chris Godwin, Ryan Jensen, Leonard Fournette, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, Carlton Davis, Jordan Whitehead and Alex Cappa.
With Brady under contract for one more season, perhaps the seven-time champ realized the Buccaneers’ championship window is closing and chose to retire to save himself from having to carry a team to a Super Bowl at age 45.
The Bucs, meanwhile, could free up cap space by releasing Brady after June 1 or merely placing him on the reserve/retired list, thus buying him more time to weigh his future and evaluate potential landing spots if he chooses to come back.
Whatever the case, it sure sounds like, based on this report, Brady was backed into a corner and forced into a decision he wasn’t quite ready to make.
We’ll know soon enough if that was true.