Many have assumed this will be Tom Brady’s last NFL season after his mini-retirement earlier this year, but the quarterback will also have the option of leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for another team in the offseason. Brady will be a free agent giving the legendary quarterback the options to retire, re-sign with the Bucs or play for the third team of his NFL career.
Former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum believes Brady could look to team up with longtime Saints head coach Sean Payton in 2023. The ESPN analyst labeled the Panthers, Saints, Raiders and Cardinals as potential landing spots for the iconic duo.
“Let’s remember this, Sean Payton and Tom Brady have the same agent and they could be a package deal,” Tannenbaum detailed during a November 22 edition of ESPN’s “Get Up.” “There’s a number of teams out there, Carolina, New Orleans, maybe Las Vegas, Arizona, that could be looking for possibly a head coach and a quarterback.
“I think this is really intriguing because if he keeps playing and he goes some place else, it’s not going to be for a rebuild and he’s going to go with somebody that knows how to coach offense and Sean Payton would be an ideal partner.”
Could the Bucs Make a Run at Payton?
The question many Buccaneers fans are likely asking after hearing this idea is why Tampa Bay would not be in the mix to land their formal rival head coach. There are many hurdles that make Payton wearing a Bucs visor extremely unlikely, including Tampa Bay signing Todd Bowles to a five-year deal when he was named the head coach last offseason, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Payton sat out this season of coaching but there is a growing buzz that the former Saints head man could return to the sideline in 2023.
The early results for Bowles’ tenure in Tampa have been less than ideal with a laundry list of struggles including late-game management, a stagnant offense and defensive regression. Yet, unless the Buccaneers included protective language in his contract, Bowles is likely to be the team’s coach again in 2023, regardless of how the season ends.
Even if the Bucs had flexibility with Bowles, the Saints still hold Payton’s rights and his next team will likely have to give up considerable assets via trade to sign the legendary coach. New Orleans is unlikely to deal Payton inside the division, and Tampa Bay is going to have to find other ways to entice Brady to return next season.
The Dolphins Attempted to Recruit Brady & Payton to Team Up in Miami
This is not the first time Brady has been connected to Payton as the NFL revealed in the league’s tampering investigation that the Dolphins attempted to recruit both to Miami. Regardless of whether Brady will team up with Payton, Tannenbaum ultimately sees the quarterback moving on next season.
“No one is arguing that Brady continues to play like the GOAT anymore, particularly since he will be 46 when the 2023 season kicks off,” Tannenbaum wrote November 16. “I imagine he will move on from his playing career after this season, which could put Tampa Bay in a tough spot.”
Tampa Bay’s roster suddenly appears to have plenty of holes just two years removed from their Super Bowl run, and the team is projected to be more than $49 million over the cap in 2023, per Spotrac. The Bucs face an uphill battle to drastically improve the franchise to entice Brady to return for another season. If Brady does opt to suit up again in 2023, the one advantage Tampa Bay has is the quarterback’s familiarity with the organization. Brady will be 46 when the NFL kicks off next season and may be hesitant to make another career change.