Buccaneers fans excitedly welcomed Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay roster this NFL offseason. Despite the initial uproar, Brady leading the Bucs to eliteness may not be the slam dunk people think it is. There are arguments for and against Brady seeing success in Tampa. Either way, here’s why his move there won’t be the worst thing for him.
Tom Brady’s move to Tampa Bay
Brady’s decision to play for the Buccaneers surprised many in the football world. As soon as NFL free agency began, he announced he would not return to New England. Soon after, he said he was going to sign with Tampa.
The 42-year-old took slightly less money than he’s probably worth at $25 million per year in a league where the top QBs’ contracts average $30-$35 million annually. But the key for Brady: All of the money is guaranteed. He also had a no-trade clause in his contract and it’s loaded with performance incentives.
Brady will team with head coach and offensive mastermind Bruce Arians, who’s known for his stellar work with quarterbacks. Brady will also have plenty of firepower at his disposal in receivers Mike Evans and Chris Goodwin. With all of these positives in his favor, how could Brady’s move be a mistake?
The argument for why Brady’s move to Tampa Bay was a mistake
Brady has overcome pretty much every opponent in his way throughout his career — with the exception of Eli Manning and the Giants in their two Super Bowl matchups. One opponent he can’t defeat in the long run is Father Time.
Brady is 42 years old. Any way you look at it, he’s playing on borrowed time. Even if he’s still a better-than-average quarterback, his performance declined last season. The wheels could come off at any moment, despite his amazing shape and high level of play.
There’s also the idea that Brady represents the next sad case of an aging player with a failing second act after a long career spent with a single team. Think of Johnny Unitas in a San Diego Chargers uniform or Joe Namath with the Rams. As great as those players were, they couldn’t hang on at the end.
The argument for why Brady’s move to Tampa Bay won’t be the worst
There is an argument, however, that Brady in Tampa may not be such a bad thing after all. Say, for example, he plays poorly, or he plays well but the team fails to rally around him. Let’s say his two seasons don’t result in a Super Bowl or even a playoff berth, then he retires after they’re done.
Nothing Brady does in the next two seasons will replace the legacy he left as the greatest quarterback of all time with the New England Patriots. He still won six Super Bowls and no one can take that away from him. Even if things in Tampa don’t go as well as they did in New England — and realistically: how could they? — he’ll always have a stunning record of accomplishments.
No one judges Peyton Manning for playing poorly with the Denver Broncos in his last season or Joe Montana for playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. The bottom line: Brady’s place in football history is sealed. Any achievements in Tampa will only add to it but cannot detract from it.