NFL

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Hopes Are Helped by Tampa Bay’s New $808,000 Defender

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have plenty to be feeling happy about entering Week 7.

In his first year outside of New England, Brady is throwing touchdowns and just recorded an impressive home victory against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

Now, in an effort to ensure Brady has a chance at winning his seventh Super Bowl ring, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just swung a trade for an $808,000 defender who brings experience and power to the team’s defense.

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have looked inconsistent

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Here’s the good news for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: they’re 4-2 through six weeks.

In fact, if not for Brady’s bone-headed decision at the end of a Week 5 loss at Chicago, Tampa Bay may very well be 5-1. But a team that hasn’t reached the postseason since January 2008 will certainly take four wins in six weeks.

At times, Brady and the Buccaneers have lived up to the offseason hype. Brady completed 64.1% of his passes for 1,541 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions in his first five games.

But, the idea that Tampa would steamroll through the NFC remains just that: an idea. Tampa looked slow in the Week 1 loss at New Orleans and needed an extra push in home victories over Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams.

According to ESPN’s ‘QBR’ system, Brady had the 19th-highest score (of 30 eligible quarterbacks) at 66.4 through the end of games on Sunday, October 18.

Tampa Bay won’t complain about the 4-2 start, especially in the bizarre season that is 2020. But the team also likely wouldn’t dispute they’ve looked inconsistent so far.

Tampa Bay just acquired Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon

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If you had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team that would make the first noteworthy regular-season trade in 2020, please step up and collect your prize.

If you projected Tampa Bay would trade Tom Brady after he threw two interceptions in Week 1, however, rethink your decisions.

Not long after the Buccaneers finished their rout of Green Bay, multiple reports tweeted that Tampa Bay and the New York Jets made a trade.

Tampa acquired nose tackle Steve McLendon and a seventh-round pick in 2023 for the Buccaneers’ sixth-round pick in 2022.

McLendon, 34, has been with the Jets since 2016. The veteran defender had 14 tackles in six games for the Jets this year.

McLendon has 41 career tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He won an AFC championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2010 season.

McLendon played for Todd Bowles, the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator, from 2016-18. Bowles served as the Jets’ head coach from 2015-18.

New York named McLendon a team captain before the season opened; following last week’s decision to release Le’Veon Bell, the Jets have already parted ways with two of their five original captains.

Steve McLendon will greatly help Tom Brday and the Bucs

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Steve McLendon isn’t going to change his skillset Tampa Bay and suddenly become a fearsome sack artist.

Tampa Bay doesn’t need him to do that. All the team needed is a capable defensive body after Vita Vea, the impressive third-year lineman, fractured his leg during the Week 5 loss to Chicago.

Vea had two sacks in five games after totaling 5.5 in his first two seasons.

This is the type of move that Tom Brady became used to seeing in New England. McLendon was tolling away on a terrible team and, although he won’t reinvent the wheel, is a fine player who brings experience and leadership to a contender.

According to SNY, Tampa Bay will pay the remaining $808,000 of McLendon’s 2020 salary, which is $1.25 million. McLendon is a free agent after the season. 

All stats courtesy of ESPN.