The Buccaneers Have a $10 Million, Tom Brady-Sized Problem to Address

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers caught quite the break this offseason. After missing out on the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and even Carson Wentz, Tampa Bay was dead in the water with no starting quarterback on the roster. Bruce Arians had expressed confidence in Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask to hold down the job, which would’ve been a disastrous outcome for a franchise still in pursuit of another Super Bowl trophy.

Then, Tom Bady returned.

Not only did Tampa Bay solve its quarterback issue, but it solved it with the best quarterback in NFL history. Brady is coming off a stellar 5,000-plus-yard season and nearly led Tampa Bay to a Divisional Round win over the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

The Buccaneers are right back to being favorites in the NFC. However, there’s a slight money issue that needs discussing.

The Buccaneers are only paying Tom Brady $10.3 million in 2022

Due to cap purposes and the nature of Brady’s extension last year, his cap hit in 2022 is extremely low. According to Spotrac, Brady will only make $10.3 million in yearly cash this season.

Brady’s cap hit is just north of $20 million. However, most of that comes from signing bonuses. Either way, Brady’s money this season is unfathomably low compared to the rest of the league’s starting quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers just signed an extension that makes him $50 million per season, and Kirk Cousins just signed an extension that will make him $45 million in 2023.

Brady has a reputation for taking pay cuts for the team’s sake. However, his current deal is borderline disrespectful. It seems like a no-brainer that Tampa Bay would offer him a raise to thank him for returning.

Mike Florio argues the Buccaneers need to fork over a raise

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.
Tom Brady | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio first touched on the issue Wednesday, and he believes the Buccaneers need to offer Brady a raise as well.

This year, Brady will make only $10.395 million. So with the GOAT coming back after a temporary retirement, will the Buccaneers reward him with something more than chicken feed?

They should. They absolutely should. But if he’d get a new deal, the team would surely want a commitment beyond 2022. If Brady hopes to have the option to go elsewhere in 2023 — if he chooses to keep playing — his best play would be to honor his deal.

Regardless, the Buccaneers have an unprecedented bargain at the most important position on the field. And it’s allowing the team to put enough around him so that he can pursue his favorite Super Bowl ring.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

There are a plethora of ways Tampa Bay could pay Brady more money without damaging its salary-cap situation. However, the question is, could the fear of commitment scare Brady away from entering these negotiations?

What if Tom Brady doesn’t want an extension?

As Florio states, any agreement to give Brady a raise would likely result in an extension through next season. It’s the easiest way for the Buccaneers to pay their quarterback more money without plummeting their immediate cap space.

While Brady would presumably enjoy being fairly compensated this season, it’s worth wondering if the fear of commitment is preventing him from even raising the issue. There were whispers of Brady being unhappy with Bruce Arians during the closing weeks of the 2021 NFL season. Maybe Brady is happy to be underpaid for an entire season if that means hitting free agency again this upcoming offseason?

No matter the outcome, it’s undoubtedly an interesting situation to follow. The best quarterback of all time making a measly $10.3 million is simply too bizarre to ignore.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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