Things might look better for Tom Brady staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after all.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said on the “The Rich Eisen Show” that Brady is “more open” to staying in Tampa for this year versus last year when he retired for 41 days. Pelissero’s information came from sources “close to” the Bucs quarterback.
“People close to Brady for the last two months have said all his options are on the table. He is showing that he seems more open to coming back and playing another year than he did certainly a year ago at this time when he retired and unretired,” Pelissero told show guest host Suzy Shuster on Thursday, January 19.
Tampa Bay’s 2022 season ended with a thud against the Dallas Cowboys in a 31-14 defeat on Monday, and Brady said he will take things “one day at a time” regarding his future after the game. Brady, 45, could retire, become a free agent and join another team, or stay with the Bucs.
Pelissero noted Brady’s divorce as a factor that could impact his decision, too. Two of Brady’s children live in Miami and another in New York. The Miami Dolphins appear off the table as an option with the franchise’s commitment to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“He’s also a human being, and that’s never been more evident than it is right now,” Pelissero told Shuster. “So he has some very human decisions that he needs to make, and I would anticipate that he’s going to make them relatively expediently because just like last year when he came back on the eve of free agency, Tom Brady knows if he comes back, he’s only coming back for one thing, which is to try to win another championship.”
That’s the million dollar question in Tampa Bay after an 8-9 season with a quick playoff exit amid a slew of injuries and issues. The Bucs also face a dire salary cap situation with $55 million over the cap per Spotrac.
Bucs Luring Brady Back With Coaching Moves?
Tampa Bay made “sweeping” changes to the coaching staff with the firing of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and five other assistants. Three other Bucs assistants retired.
The offense sputtered all season in Brady’s first ever losing campaign, and he mustered a career-low 9.6 yards per completion. FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd sees the coaching changes, mostly on the offensive side of the ball, as a way for the Bucs to keep Brady in Tampa.
“That is Tampa’s public plea to Tom Brady to stay in Tampa,” Cowherd said on his show. “So I was told a week ago by somebody close to Brady that the lack of details on the coaching staff, the offensive coaching staff, drove Brady nuts. Too sloppy too often.”
FOX Drops Hint on Brady’s Future?
Brady has a $375 million deal waiting for him at FOX when he hangs up his cleats for good.
FOX welcomed him to join the network as early as this year’s Super Bowl if the Bucs didn’t make it, according to Front Office Sports. The network recently changed course according to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
“For those wondering about Tom Brady/Fox NFL: Multiple industry sources say Fox Sports has no plans to use Brady in the booth for the Super Bowl,” Deitsch wrote on Twitter. “You never know with the pregame given how long that show goes. But Burkhardt/Olsen is the plan. Fox Sports declined [to] comment on it.”
Does that mean Brady will play next season? Not definitively, and Brady acknowledged on the “Let’s Go!” podcast this season that he made last year’s retirement decision too quickly.
“I think the important thing is the day after the season — and I made this mistake [during his brief retirement] — is not to decide the future,” Brady told co-host Jim Gray.