With Tom Brady recently moving the goal posts on his long-established play-until-he’s-45 target, the Buccaneers are discussing a new deal with their quarterback. And the sides are making progress, according to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter).
Brady is on Tampa Bay’s books at $28.4MM in 2021. An extension would be a way to reduce that number and help the Super Bowl champions retain some of their high-profile free agents. GM Jason Licht said last month a Brady extension was on the radar.
Coming off a rather successful age-43 season, Brady has said he is open to playing past age 45 now. (Brady will turn 44 in August.) His two-year, $50MM contract runs through 2021.
The Bucs have $11MM in cap space and can only retain one of their marquee free agents with the franchise tag. Chris Godwin and Shaquil Barrett are Tampa Bay’s tag candidates, and the team also has Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Ndamukong Suh and Leonard Fournette looming as free agents-to-be. Free agency opens March 17, but the legal tampering period begins two days earlier.
The Bucs have said they want to keep everyone in this group, and some of these cogs have indicated they would like to return. While Brady’s presence and the Bucs’ status as defending champions stands to be a draw for veterans during a year in which many could be available — due to the likely reduced salary cap — the aforementioned contingent played a significant part in Tampa Bay claiming its second Super Bowl title. Losing a few from the group would sting.
Although Brady did not make the Pro Bowl, he climbed back into the top 10 in QBR (seventh) after a spotty 2019 season in New England. The future Hall of Fame quarterback bounced back from a three-INT second half in the NFC championship game, throwing three TD passes in the first half of Super Bowl LV. He will miss much of the Bucs’ offseason program due to knee surgery and may be out until June. However, Brady having spent a year in Bruce Arians‘ offense figures to make this offseason less important than last year’s for the 21-year veteran.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.