3 Instant Reactions to Tom Brady's Buccaneers RetirementFebruary 1, 2023
Tom Brady is retiring.
No, for real this time.
We mean it...we think.
The future Hall of Famer took to Twitter on Wednesday morning, posting a video of himself announcing his departure from football—exactly one year after he posted his initial farewell.
Brady finishes his career holding essentially every passing record in the books and has the best success rate of any player in the league's history with seven Super Bowls. One of the few nearly indisputable facts in sports remaining is that Brady has the resume to be called the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
With the hot-take debates unnecessary in the aftermath of his departure, let's take a look at some real-time takeaways from his second retirement.
Brady Is Actually Retiring This Time
A year ago, there may or may not have been some chicanery involved in Brady's retirement announcement.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported a clandestine plan that involved Brady retiring last February with the plan of eventually unretiring and joining the Miami Dolphins. The reported plan was scuttled amid Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit filed against the NFL, and Brady eventually decided to play one more year in Tampa.
While no one involved ever confirmed the accuracy of the report, we at least know the Dolphins were heavily pursuing Brady behind the scenes. The NFL stripped Miami of its first-round pick as a result of the team tampering with Brady and Sean Payton.
This time around, with potential free agency looming, there was no reason for Brady to retire unless he actually meant it. The 45-year-old would have been free to sign with any other team of his choosing and would not have lacked for suitors on the open market.
Much like how last year's retirement felt like it was ending with a question mark, this one feels like it ends with a definitive period.
The Raiders Need a New Plan at QB
If Brady were to return next season and wanted to leave Tampa, it wasn't hard to figure out the overwhelming favorite for his next landing spot.
The Raiders have one of the game's top wideouts in Davante Adams, an elite pass-catching tight end in Darren Waller, the NFL's leading rusher in Josh Jacobs (an impending free agent but a likely franchise tag candidate) and several coaches and front office members who have relationships with Brady dating back to New England.
Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels was Brady's offensive coordinator for more than a decade during his two stints with the Patriots. The Raiders also just so happen to be moving on from quarterback Derek Carr, their starter for the last nine seasons.
Not exactly rocket science trying to figure out how they hoped to replace Carr.
Brady's retirement should lead to an instant pivot.
Las Vegas may become a contender for Jimmy Garoppolo, who has his own New England ties, or wind up attempting to reunite Adams and Aaron Rodgers in Sin City.
It's even possible this situation ends with Carr returning next season. Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported the Raiders are yet to grant Carr and his representatives permission to negotiate a trade with other teams.
It's Tear-Down Time in Tampa
Brady's retirement leaves the Buccaneers without a quarterback and in need of doing some cap shenanigans to process his departure. It's likely the team will attempt to smooth over the $35.1 million dead cap hit by restructuring Brady's contract so most of that charge goes on the 2024 cap, but this is still a team in need of a rebuild.
The Bucs' expensive, veteran-laden roster showed signs of wear this season. They only made the playoffs by the grace of playing in the awful NFC South and actually finished with the worst point differential in the division.
Fixing this roster is not as simple as acquiring another veteran stopgap who can fill Brady's shoes.
The Bucs need to consider shifting into tear-down mode and no player should be safe from a potential trade. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett and Carlton Davis are all veterans who could interest other teams in a potential move. Evans, in particular, could be primed for a move heading into the final year of his contract.
This was a team built with winning during Brady's career window in mind. With the quarterback's career now over, it's time to shift focus and move on to the next—likely very painful—era of Buccaneers football.