NFLN: Bucs' Tom Brady to Consider Playing in 2023, Not Retiring Ahead of Free Agency

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 05: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 05, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Tom Brady began his 23rd NFL season with plans on retiring at the end of the year—for real this time.

That may no longer be the case.

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported "all options are on the table" for Brady at the end of the 2022 season. The future Hall of Famer will be an unrestricted free agent in March and could consider leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the right situation.

The Miami Dolphins were stripped of their 2023 first-round pick this offseason for tampering with Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. It's unlikely Miami pursues Brady this offseason amid Tua Tagovailoa's breakout.

That said, there will no shortage of potential suitors this spring. The New York Jets and Giants are both playoff teams and are arguably a quarterback away from being legitimate contenders. The Indianapolis Colts could make Brady an offer to be the latest in their revolving door of veterans at the position.

While it's unlikely, the New England Patriots could decide Mac Jones isn't their quarterback of the future and decide to pursue Brady for a short-term reunion.

The Bucs will also certainly do everything in their power to re-sign Brady, but the seams are starting to show with their veteran core. Tampa heads into Week 14 at 6-6, with the once high-powered offense taking a massive step back in 2022.

Brady is on pace for just 23 touchdown passes this season after throwing for 83 over his first two years with the Bucs. He's spent much of the year failing to connect on deep passes and instead settling for checkdowns. Chris Godwin is averaging less than 10 yards per reception, while Mike Evans' 13.8 yards per catch is a joint career low.

At this point, the writing seems to be on the wall for Brady's time in Tampa. The offensive weapons are only going to be a year older and more expensive heading into 2023. Brady explored the possibility of moving on via retirement and to another team last offseason after an explosive regular-season performance.

With the Bucs clearly looking like a middle-of-the-pack team, retirement and leaving via free agency should be considered the favorites for Brady's plans come March.