Tom Brady

MCL Surgery For Buccaneers’ Tom Brady

Earlier this year, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady underwent knee surgery, but didn’t specify the exact issue, saying only that it was “pretty serious.” According to a source who spoke with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brady had a partial tear of the MCL. Meanwhile, people close to Brady claim that it was actually a complete tear of the ligament (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

[RELATED: Brady Won’t Commit To Playing Beyond 2022]

Brady says that he became aware of the injury in the spring, but Stroud hears that it actually occurred in 2019, Brady’s last year with the Patriots. He’s had similar issues before, including an MCL sprain towards the end of the 2018 season. The Patriots — in classic Patriots fashion — declined to disclose the injury.

Fortunately, Brady is expected to be cleared in time for training camp this summer. It won’t be an easy recovery — especially since Brady is in his mid-40s — but he’s proven that he can outrun Father Time. At minimum, Brady hopes to play through 2022.

Fifty? That’s a long time. Even for me, that’s a long time,” Brady said recently, somewhat countering GM Jason Licht‘s suggestion. “I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract. I’m going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that.

If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that’s enough, then that would be enough.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Jefferson, Broncos, Massie

During an appearance on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady discussed his reactions to a potential 2020 free agent suitor pulling out of the sweepstakes to stick with their incumbent signal-caller.

“There was a story, in free agency, one of the teams, they were interested and all of sudden they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady said. “I was sitting there thinking, you’re stick with that [expletive]? Are you serious?

“When I look back I’m like, there’s no [expletive] way I would’ve went to that team. But they said they didn’t want me. I know what that means, I know what that feels like.”

There’s been plenty of speculation about the mystery team and quarterback that Brady was referring to, and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com cites multiple league sources who believe the future Hall of Famer was referring to the Raiders and Derek Carr. Las Vegas had been mentioned as a potential Brady suitor during the 2020 offseason, but the organization dropped out of the sweepstakes after balking at Brady’s long list of requests. As Florio notes, Brady had his chance at payback last season, when he tossed four touchdowns in a 45-20 Tampa Bay victory over Las Vegas.

Unless Brady unexpectedly reveals who he was talking about, we’ll never truly know if it was the Raiders. Plenty of other teams and quarterbacks have been mentioned, including the Bears/Mitch Trubisky and the Titans/Ryan Tannehill. The 49ers and former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo have been a popular suggestion, but considering Brady’s lifelong affinity for San Francisco (and his declaration that he was never going to sign with that team in the first place), we can probably cross them off the list.

Here’s more out of the AFC West…

  • Quinton Jefferson has played all over the defensive line during his five-year career, but despite the Raiders depth at defensive tackle, the team is still planning to play their free agent acquisition at his natural position. The 28-year-old will be teaming up with the Raiders main offseason acquisition, defensive tackle Yannick Ngakoue, and Jefferson is excited to form a two-headed monster with his good friend and former college teammate. “Yannick is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now and he brings that intensity,” Jefferson told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “He is going to bring some pressure and help relieve Maxx (Crosby), free Maxx up so that other teams can’t key on one guy. And then hopefully I can bring some interior pressure as well, so we should have a good mix out there. I am excited to see how that all comes together.”
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post explores several Broncos players who find themselves on the roster bubble prior to training camp and the preseason. Atop his list is defensive tackle McTelvin Agim, a 2020 third-round pick who was limited to only 110 defensive snaps as a rookie. O’Halloran notes that it’s troubling that the young defensive lineman wasn’t working with the starters during minicamp despite the absences of Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris. Offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, running back Royce Freeman, safety Trey Marshall, and linebacker Derrek Tuszka also earned spots on the list.
  • The Broncos brought in both Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming to compete for the starting right tackle spot, and ESPN’s Jeff Legwold believes Massie will get the first shot at the gig. Massie certainly has the advantage when it comes to experience; the 31-year-old has started 110 of his 118 career games, including each of his eight games in 2020. Meanwhile, Fleming has mostly served as backup throughout his career (91 games, 42 starts), although he did start a career-high 16 games for the Giants last season.

Tom Brady Not Committing To Playing Beyond 2022

During Super Bowl week, Tom Brady said he would consider playing past age 45 — his long-held target year. The Buccaneers then signed the superstar quarterback to an extension that pushes his two-year contract to a three-year pledge.

Brady is now signed through 2022. GM Jason Licht later floated age 50 as a (perhaps half-serious) consideration, but Brady is not making any hard plans beyond next season.

Fifty? That’s a long time. Even for me, that’s a long time,” Brady said, via USA Today’s Jori Epstein. “I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract. I’m going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that.

If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that’s enough, then that would be enough.”

[RELATED: Bucs Extend Bruce Arians, Jason Licht]

Quarterbacks have played through age-44 seasons; Vinny Testaverde, Warren Moon and Steve DeBerg suited up at 44. George Blanda played until he was 48, though the quarterback/kicker was almost exclusively a kicker following his age-44 season. While Testaverde started six games for the 2007 Panthers — a year after serving as Brady’s backup — Brady will be the only full-time QB1 at this age. Blanda is the only player to have thrown a pass at age 45, so Brady making it to 2022 as Tampa Bay’s starter would add to his list of NFL firsts.

Brady has managed to avoid serious injury for more than 10 years, missing only the four games mandated by the Deflategate ban since his September 2008 ACL tear. Although Brady underwent knee surgery this offseason, he was back in time for Tampa Bay’s minicamp. The Super Bowl LV MVP will attempt to lead a Bucs title defense over a 17-game season this year and, barring a significant injury, is almost certain to return in 2022. Brady’s health will likely determine his 2023 plans.

I’ll just have to evaluate all that when it comes,” Brady said. “It’s a physical sport; anything could happen. So I’m going to go out there this year and give everything I’ve got like I’ve done every other year, and then take it from there.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Plans To Honor 5-Year Deal

Three months after the Buccaneers’ second Super Bowl parade, Bruce Arians is not backing off the pledge he made at that time. The third-year Bucs HC not only wants to pilot a Bucs title defense but coach the team beyond 2021.

In 2019, Arians said he would retire if the Bucs won a Super Bowl. Now, the 68-year-old leader wants to finish out the five-year contract the Bucs gave him and could potentially coach beyond 2023.

Oh yeah, that’s the plan. I don’t have any plans on retiring,” Arians said of finishing out his contract during an appearance on the Pewter Report Podcast. “It’s just, when do I not want to go back to work? When I’m not excited about going back to work then I’m cheating somebody. I’m cheating the Glazer family, I’m cheating my players. Right now I can’t wait to get back to work.”

[RELATED: Bucs GM: Tom Brady Can Play Until He’s 50]

Tampa Bay deviated from its usual approach to contract structures this offseason, doing so in order to keep its Super Bowl squad together. The maneuvering involved a Tom Brady extension, which is packed with void years that stand to affect future Bucs payrolls. The Bucs are firmly in win-now mode, but Arians also dispelled the notion he would walk away when Brady does. Brady is signed through 2022.

I don’t know when that’s going to happen,” Arians said of his own retirement, “but no, I’m not tied to any players. … I could get extremely excited about having another young quarterback and going to war with one,” Arians said. “I’ll be honest with you. I’d be excited to take Blaine Gabbert to war because I love Blaine Gabbert. I think he is the most underrated player in the NFL. So yeah, when its not fun, then it will be time.”

Arians is the third-oldest head coach in the NFL, after Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick, but he did retire after the 2017 season. A three-time cancer survivor, Arians spent 2018 in the broadcast booth. But he has made his comeback one of the best in NFL coaching history, ending a lengthy Bucs playoff drought and giving the franchise its second championship, and wants to continue this chapter beyond 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs GM: Tom Brady Can Play Until He’s 50

The Buccaneers drafted Kyle Trask in the second-round a couple weeks ago, but don’t count on him seeing the field any time soon. Tom Brady continued to defy father time once again this past season, and as far as the Bucs are concerned there’s no cap on when he can keep playing until.

Tampa GM Jason Licht recently appeared on the Rich Eisen Show (Twitter video link), and made it clear he’s not going to force Brady out the door. For starters, Eisen asked Licht whether Brady gave any indication that the extension he signed back in March would be his last. Licht immediately said “none.” While Licht said he’d keep most of their conversations private, he said Brady gave “no inkling at all” that this would be his last go-round.

Most notably, Licht said “I told him if he wants to play until he’s 50, and he feels like he can still play, he can play until he’s 50.” Brady, born in August of 1977, would turn 50 right before the start of the 2027 season. Trask’s rookie contract will have already been long done at that point.

While Licht obviously wasn’t making a firm commitment right there, it’s yet another sign that Brady isn’t going to ride off into the sunset as long as he’s playing at a high level. His most recent extension keeps him under contract through the 2022 season.

The 43-year-old had knee surgery this offseason, although he said recently that he’s hoping to be ready to go by the time the team opens minicamp in June.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Would Consider Drafting QB

The Buccaneers may be all-in on the 2021 season, but that wouldn’t stop them from considering a quarterback in the upcoming draft. During his press conference earlier this week, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht revealted that he’d consider taking a developmental quarterback who could learn from future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

“You just want to make sure that you’re not picking a quarterback just to pick a quarterback,” said Licht (via Scott Smith of the team’s website). “You want everybody to be onboard, and the guy’s got to have the right mindset. He’s got to be, obviously, talented and can through the ball, but he’s got to be somebody that we all feel comfortable with above the neck. There’s always positives to drafting a quarterback if all those things align.”

The Buccaneers won’t use a first-round pick on a quarterback, and it’d be a bit surprising if the team selected a QB on the second day of the draft. A late-round quarterback would be a natural crapshoot, but the Buccaneers would be putting that young player in a position to succeed. For starters, the rookie would obviously be playing behind a seven-time champion (and a former late-round pick, to boot). Plus, as Licht pointed out, that young signal-caller would also benefit from the current coaching staff.

“Well, there’s always pros to drafting a quarterback for us because of our coaching staff,” said Licht. “Bruce and Byron and Clyde and Tom Moore – I mean, you couldn’t think of a better staff to groom a quarterback.”

A young quarterback would also have the inside track to succeed Brady when the veteran inevitably retires. In fact, this hypothetical player could have a path to playing time if Brady was forced to miss time next season; the only other quarterback on the roster is Ryan Griffin, although the team is still looking to re-sign backup Blaine Gabbert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tom Brady Hoping To Be Ready By June Minicamp

Despite going under the knife this offseason, Tom Brady is hoping he’ll be able to participate in his standard training this offseason. Speaking to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, the veteran quarterback revealed that he’s recovering from his knee surgery and is hopeful that he’ll be a full participant at mandatory June minicamp.

“Yeah, I hope so. I hope so. I feel pretty good, and I push myself pretty hard,” Brady said. “I feel pretty good. I don’t know if I could go this week, but we’ll see how things play out. It’s a long time between now and the beginning of the season, and just be smart about all these different things that we have to do and fulfill; but we all take a lot of pride in being ready to go, and I’m sure we will be.”

“It’s good, it’s good. It’s good progress. It’s rehab. None of that is fun, but looking forward to getting back to real training and stuff, which is hopefully here pretty soon. … I’m cool with it. It’s just part of what you deal with. Things come up. You deal with them the best way you can, with the best opportunity to improve. I’m definitely feeling a lot better than I did six or seven weeks ago.”

This is a somewhat notable development; while GM Jason Licht previously revealed that Brady was recovering quickly, it sounded unlikely that the quarterback would be a full-go during 7-on-7 work in June.

It’s notable when any quarterback has a knee procedure, much less an iconic quarterback who will be 44 at the start of the next season. Still, no one within the organization seems to be all that concerned. We previously learned that the procedure had been planned for a while, and Licht had described the surgery as “minor.”

The Buccaneers still haven’t added a definitive backup quarterback this offseason, although the sentiment is that they’re expected to re-sign Blaine Gabbert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tom Brady Knee Injury

When it was revealed in February that Tom Brady was undergoing knee surgery for an injury that would keep him sidelined from team activities until at least June, it understandably raised some eyebrows.

A 43-year-old quarterback getting knee surgery that will knock him out for a handful of months is significant no matter what. But fortunately, it sounds like everything is going well with Brady’s recovery. “I talked to him last week,” Bucs GM Jason Licht said, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “I know things are going well. I don’t want to put an exact timeline on it right now because I don’t want to set expectations one way or the other, but I know that things are going very well.”

The injury also apparently wasn’t out of left field for the team, and the procedure had been planned for a while. Brady had been planning on having the surgery for months, and the news was “not a surprise” to the Bucs, a source told Laine.

Licht also called it a “minor surgical procedure” although it can’t really be that minor if Bruce Arians was saying back in February that he was hopeful Brady could do some 7-on-7 work in June. Obviously if there’s anyone who doesn’t need much offseason time it’s Brady, but this will still be something to monitor as the ageless wonder gets set to turn 44 in August.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Brady, Mahomes, Teddy, Falcons

Just over a year ago, Matt Rhule said he was “unbelievably excited” to coach Cam Newton. That never came to fruition, with the Panthers releasing their longtime starter a few weeks after those comments. This year, the Panthers’ desire to upgrade on Newton’s replacement — Teddy Bridgewater — has not exactly been a secret. David Tepper is said to be eager to make a strong offer for Deshaun Watson, and the Panthers offered their No. 8 overall pick and change for Matthew Stafford. Rhule, however, said he “can’t wait” to have Bridgewater back as QB1, via Joseph Person of The Athletic (subscription required).

I think he’s controlling what he can control, and he’s having a great offseason, I’m sure,” Rhule said. “I can’t wait to get him back here. And I think he’s determined to play his best football next year. As far as where he stands with us, he’s our quarterback and nothing’s changed since the end of the offseason.”

In addition to the Panthers’ interest in veteran upgrades, they were present at Trey Lance‘s pro day Friday and are planning to be at the other first-round-caliber QBs’ showcases, per Person. Bridgewater’s $63MM deal runs through 2022, but his grip on Carolina’s starting job is far from firm.

Here is the latest from the quarterback position, moving to some rather famous passers:

  • Thanks largely to void-years maneuvering, the Buccaneers have Tom Brady set to collect a massive 2021 sum but only count $9.1MM against their cap. On his latest extension, Brady will take home $41.1MM this year, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The contract calls for a $24MM cap number in 2022, when Brady is only due to collect $8.9MM. The Bucs are stacking three void years to make this work, and Pelissero adds the team will save $19.3MM against this year’s cap by making this move (Twitter link). A whopping $24MM in void-years prorations will reside on Tampa Bay’s 2023-25 caps. If the Bucs do not extend Brady again by the time this contract expires in March 2023, they will be hit with the entire $24MM in dead-money sum on their 2023 payroll.
  • The Chiefs restructuring Patrick Mahomes‘ 10-year, $450MM contract saved them $17MM in cap space. Mahomes will now only count $7.43MM against Kansas City’s 2021 cap, per OverTheCap. He is only due $990K in 2021 base salary.
  • Matt Schaub‘s retirement and the Falcons waiving Kurt Benkert leaves Matt Ryan as the lone quarterback on Atlanta’s roster. While the Falcons are expected to add two more QBs this offseason, new HC Arthur Smith is not certain he wants to sign a veteran to be Ryan’s primary backup, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. Schaub worked as Ryan’s backup for the past five years.

Buccaneers, Tom Brady Agree To Extension

The Buccaneers will sign Tom Brady to a one-year extension (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The new deal will keep Brady in place through 2022. 

Technically speaking, the new add-on is actually a four-year contract extension, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. However, those final years are voidable, making this a one-year extension that ties him to Tampa for just one additional year.

Exact terms of the contract are not yet known. But, the revised deal will provide the Bucs with approximately $19MM in cap room this year (Twitter link via Schefter). As of last week, the Bucs were said to have only $11MM available. Meanwhile, Brady’s presence should help the Super Bowl champs keep the band together. In the coming days, the Buccaneers will work to keep top free agents such as tight end Rob Gronkowski, edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, and wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The future Hall of Famer was initially on the books for $28.4MM in 2021. Coming off a rather successful age-43 season, Brady says he’s open to playing past age 45. Brady will turn 44 in August, so the two sides could be talking extension again in March of 2022.

The Bucs’ bid to keep the band together is already off to a solid start. In recent days, they’ve assigned the franchise tag to Chris Godwin and re-upped linebacker Lavonte David ahead of free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.