It’s looking like the end for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady according to The Athletic’s Mike Jones.
“Most NFL insiders believe he will likely retire,” Jones wrote in an article published on Friday, December 16.
Brady turns 46 before next season, an unprecedented age for a quarterback and almost any other position in NFL history. He retired briefly last offseason and cited family as a big reason for his decision. Despite his divorce with Gisele Bundchen this year, he has three children whom he has talked about wanting to spend more time with.
Brady also has a $375 million contract with FOX as a broadcast upon retirement. In addition, a source told Front Office Sports that Brady would be welcome to broadcast at this season’s Super Bowl if the Buccaneers (6-7) don’t make it that far.
Despite any signs pointing to a potential retirement, Brady still could come back for 2023. Jones noted that since “Brady has not announced his intentions”, insiders “acknowledge that anything remains possible” for the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
Brady Clearly Has Something Left Despite Bucs’ Struggles
Brady hasn’t fallen off of a cliff as ESPN’s Max Kellerman once projected.
Despite the Bucs’ sputtering offense, Brady has shown that he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Brady is fifth in passing yards with 3,585, and he has the fewest interceptions, five, of any quarterback with 350 or more passes this season.
He ranks 14th with a 65.8% completion rate, and he has only 17 touchdowns for the 13th in the league. His only glaring weak spot has been reliance on short throws with a 6.1 yards per completion average — 31st in the league.
Where Could Brady Play Next Season?
Brady becomes a free agent in the offseason at the very least when his contract with the Bucs expires.
Ideas of where Brady will play have poured in during recent weeks. Options include everything from staying with the Bucs to joining a new team or returning to the New England Patriots. Jones took a look at Brady’s most likely destinations.
Brady could stick with the Bucs, but Jones noted the Bucs’ $40 million over the salary cap could be a challenge to keep him. The Bucs’ struggles and roster needs could also impact Brady’s decision.
Returning to New England poses similar issues for Brady since the roster needs some work before a return to Super Bowl contention. Jones noted Brady’s relationship with owner Robert Kraft as a key reason why that option is realistic.
Brady could go the old-teammate/coach route in a new setting instead, Jones noted. Brady’s former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels coaches the Las Vegas Raiders. Former Brady teammate Mike Vrabel coaches the Tennessee Titans. New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh once coached the Patriots defense. All three teams have talent on offense and have quarterbacks they could part ways with.
Going home to San Francisco also remains a possibility, Jones noted. The 49ers have a Super Bowl-ready roster but a bunch of options at quarterback, including No. 3 pick Trey Lance. Backup Brock Purdy has been taking the NFL by storm in recent weeks with Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined due to injuries.