Report: Tom Brady to Sign Bucs Contract After Patriots Exit; Jameis Winston a FA

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady listens to a question at his post-game news conference after the team lost to the Tennessee Titans in an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Tom Brady has reportedly chosen Tampa Bay as the place to finish his NFL career.

Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd said Brady has decided to sign with the Buccaneers and will make the announcement Wednesday.

"I was told 35 minutes ago that Tom Brady signs tomorrow with Tampa Bay. He had made a decision and talked to Tampa Bay yesterday," Cowherd said. "He was willing to re-sign with New England but he watched Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins go to other franchises and then called Robert Kraft an hour and a half later and says ‘I’M OUT’… I am told Tampa is the choice and he will sign tomorrow... This is not a 'football source', it is a ‘Icon’ source, and somebody in Tom’s stratosphere that knows Tom and who is a famous person. He says Tampa."

The Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers are considered the two strongest suitors for Brady, who announced his departure from the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career,” Brady said in a statement.

Brady spent his first 20 NFL seasons in New England, putting together a resume that makes him almost unquestionably the greatest quarterback in league history. His reputational pull is undeniable, but it's fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank as he approaches age 43.

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Brady's age 42 season was mostly one to forget. He finished with 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions passing, fine on-paper numbers that undersold his struggles. His 88.0 quarterback rating and 60.8 completion percentage were his worst since 2013; over his final eight games of the 2019 season (including playoffs), Brady completed 60 percent of his passes once. Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranked him as the No. 17 quarterback in the NFL.

Brady would be joining a roster with far superior skill position talent than he's leaving in New England. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are both coming off a 1,000-yard seasons and likely would have both finished in the top five in receiving yards if they hadn't suffered injuries. There is arguably no better one-two punch at receiver in football.

Bruce Arians is also one of the sport's most respected offensive minds. He coaxed 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns out of Jameis Winston last season, numbers that would have put him in the MVP conversation if it weren't for Winston's propensity for turnovers. Winston, who is also a free agent, threw an NFL-high 30 picks, something that made Arians open about the fact he was going to explore the quarterback market.

If Brady winds up signing in Tampa, Winston could be the next quarterback domino to fall.