ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported Tuesday that Brady is expected to sign with the Bucs. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the sides have agreed in principle on a deal worth around $30 million annually. Rapoport reported Wednesday that the two sides finalized the agreement.
It's the end of an era. The 42-year-old Brady won six titles (in nine Super Bowl trips), four Super Bowl MVPs and three league MVPs, and he was a 14-time Pro Bowler during his time in New England. He also led the Patriots to a whopping 17 AFC East titles and 17 playoff berths.
The sixth-round pick in the 2000 draft (No. 199 overall) already has legendary career stats with 541 touchdowns (second all-time) and 74,571 yards (also second). When he retires, he'll do so as a first-ballot Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest quarterback—and perhaps greatest player—ever.
With the exception of the Spygate and Deflategate scandals perhaps tarnishing the otherwise unrivaled Patriots dynasty during the Brady and Bill Belichick era, the veteran's career has been unblemished.
But Brady has started showing signs of decline. If you ignore the 2016 season (four games missed due to suspension) and the 2008 season (15 games missed due to an ACL tear), Brady's 2019 numbers do not stack up well compared to his career marks:
- 24 passing touchdowns, his fewest since 2006
- 4,057 passing yards, his lowest mark since 2010
- 60.8 completion percentage, his lowest mark since 2013
Granted, the Patriots lacked dynamic weapons in the passing game. And compared to other quarterbacks, Brady still put up solid numbers. He only threw eight picks, after all.
But he's no longer elite. And he's no longer a Patriot. For football fans, both of those statements are surreal.
It will perhaps be even more surreal to see Brady leave the organization with which he won six titles to go to a Bucs team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2007.
One thing is certain: Brady will be a huge upgrade over Jameis Winston, who had 30 interceptions last season. Brady, on the other hand, has thrown 29 interceptions in his last four seasons combined. So yes, he's going to improve Tampa's offense.
In Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Brady will have the best wide receivers he's had since Randy Moss. What he won't have, however, is the coaching of Belichick or an overall roster on the level of New England's. So it's a major change, indeed, but an exciting day in Tampa Bay.