The new NFL season is still some way away, but when it does begin, there’ll be one difference standing out among everything else – Tom Brady.
After a sensational, success-laden, history-making career with New England Patriots, Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers man now.
After the Pats chose to let 42-year-old Brady go at the end of last season, many wondered who, if anyone, would pick up the six-time Super Bowl winner. Well, the Bucs did.
It remains to be seen if the move works out for player or team, and before we find out, we’ve run the rule over the key factors behind the deal coming together from both sides…
Let’s not beat about the bush here, few NFL teams were realistically going to sign a quarterback who’ll be 43-years-old when the new season starts – even if he is Tom Brady.
Not only is Brady expensive, many teams will wonder how much longer he can compete at the top.
But that wasn’t an issue for the Bucs, who reckon Brady’s worth the dosh, for at least the next two seasons.
There’s far more to this than money for Brady and a good bit of PR for Tampa, of course. Both player and team are serious about the partnership working out.
For Brady, he gets to work under Bruce Arians, Tampa’s head coach who brings vast experience and carries big respect within the NFL fraternity.
Arians twice guided Arizona Cardinals to the playoffs during a five-year stint as head coach, reaching the NFC Championship game in 2015.
The 67-year-old has also been offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts too, helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL in 2005 and XLIII in 2009.
If Brady’s talents are finally on the wane, he could be perfectly placed under Arians. After all, they do call the Tampa coach the ‘Quarterback Whisperer’…
Another reason why Brady and the Bucs have teamed up is because of concerns over last season’s Tampa QB Jameis Winston.
The 26-year-old Florida State product had a wildly inconsistent campaign last term, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.
Most sides are seemingly content with their quarterback options, but after last season’s unpredictability, Arians and Tampa needed to shake things up.
And that’s where Brady steps in. The 42-year-old could well become Tampa’s starting QB from the get-go.
Winston is an unrestricted free agent, so he may not be around with the Bucs come September.
But if he is, and learns from the master, then as and when Brady calls it a day, Winston could – should – be ready to fill the void.
A lot of this comes down again to Arians’ quality in getting the best out of his quarterbacks. But if he can find a way for Brady and Winston to work together, then there’s every reason Brady’s arrival can have a long-term impact too.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.