Tom Brady has repeatedly said he wants to play to the age of 45 or 50, perhaps even beyond that. At first, it seemed like hyperbole. Today, it’s a grim reality for the rest of the NFL. On Friday, the Buccaneers re-signed him to a one-year contract extension which will keep him in pewter until at least 2022. This will put Brady on the path to setting one more NFL record once thought to be unreachable.
Tom Brady is locked in until 2022
The winningest quarterback in NFL history has shown no signs of retiring anytime soon. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport first reported, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given Tom Brady a one-year contract extension that will keep him in Tampa until 2022. Technically, the extension is for four years, but the last three are voidable.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brady effectively took a pay cut for the good of the team. He would have counted for over $28 million against this year’s reduced salary cap. The terms of the extension will allow the Buccaneers to shave $19 million off of their payroll. This would give the team the chance to keep as much of the Super Bowl-winning team together as possible.
Tom Brady may become the oldest starting quarterback ever
Tom Brady already owns several NFL records, some of which may never be topped. What he probably holds most dear to his heart are his seven Super Bowl wins, which are more than any NFL team. If he takes the field for the 2022 season — and there’s no reason why he wouldn’t — he would add one record to his illustrious list.
Brady will turn 44 years old on August 3 of this year. Barring a catastrophic injury over the next two seasons, he will eventually become the oldest starting quarterback in NFL history. This would most likely happen at the opening game of the Buccaneers’ 2022 season when Brady is 45 years old.
Steve DeBerg holds the current record as the oldest NFL starting quarterback. On Oct. 25, 1998, he started (and lost) a game for the Atlanta Falcons in place of the injured Chris Chandler. On that day, DeBerg was 44 years and 279 days old.
The Buccaneers are heavy favorites
No team has repeated as Super Bowl champions since, oddly enough, Tom Brady’s Patriots of 2003-04. Regardless, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a realistic shot to do exactly that.
In the days following the Buccaneers’ championship, according to CBS Sports, the oddsmakers picked the Kansas City Chiefs as the favorites to win Super Bowl 56. However, the road back to the Super Bowl will be a tougher one for the Chiefs. Past Super Bowl losers have had a hard time even reaching the playoffs, let alone returning to the big game. It doesn’t help that the team has just released two of its long-time offensive linemen in an effort to save cap space.
The Bucs, on the other hand, show no signs of slowing down. Despite his age, Brady finished third in the league in passing yardage (4,633) and tied for second in touchdown passes (40). In fact, the mere presence of Tom Brady could serve as a beacon for free agents looking to chase a championship. The Buccaneers have expressed interest in snatching wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. from the Cleveland Browns.
Perhaps we had it all wrong the whole time. The next potential NFL dynasty may not be in Kansas City, but in sunny Tampa.
Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.