For the first time in his unrivaled NFL career, Tom Brady will have an opportunity to sign with whichever team he pleases when his New England Patriots contract expires in March.
If the 42-year-old quarterback opts to leave New England, where might he fit? With the start of free agency still more than two months away, we’re taking a team-by-team look at some potential landing spots for the future Hall of Famer.
Next up: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE
Tampa Bay could be looking to move on from wildly erratic soon-to-be free agent Jameis Winston this offseason, and there’s a good chance Brady would thrive in Bruce Arians’ pass-happy offense, especially since he’d be throwing to two of the NFL’s best wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and an above-average (albeit underutilized) tight end in O.J. Howard.
The Bucs also have nearly $92 million in projected salary cap space, according to Spotrac — third-most behind the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins — meaning they’d easily be able to offer Brady a big-money contract. General manager Jason Licht previously served as the Patriots’ director of pro personnel from 2009 to 2011.
The roster down in Tampa has some holes, but it was competitive enough to go 7-9 this season despite Winston’s NFL-high 30 interceptions, including a league-record seven pick-sixes. With a more responsible QB like Brady running the show, the Bucs could blossom into a playoff team overnight.
WHY IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE
Can anyone honestly envision Brady — who has business interests outside of football — playing in a small market like Tampa, for a franchise that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2007, wearing one of those ridiculous alarm clock jerseys?
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Football-wise, Brady becoming a Buc isn’t the most outlandish idea. But it’s hard to view Tampa Bay as a legit TB12 suitor given its market size and overall lack of franchise prestige.