ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while still expected to happen, wasn’t a done deal just yet.
So what’s the holdup?
Schefter noted that contract language is “more challenging this offseason than any time in recent memory.” In Brady’s case, the NFL’s restrictions on team physicals amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are complicating matters, according to a report Thursday morning from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.
Per source: The issue is the location of the Brady physical and who the doctor will be, given the league's COVID-19 rules. https://t.co/rvfC2rVBhT
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 19, 2020
Due to coronavirus concerns, the league has temporarily barred teams from conducting physicals with free agents or players acquired via trade. All physicals must be conducted by a non-team-affiliated doctor in the player’s home city.
Free agency-related travel also is prohibited, meaning the Bucs aren’t allowed to fly Brady to Tampa or have representatives meet with him in New England (or New York, or wherever he happens to be residing at the moment).
The new rules regarding physicals have prompted teams around the league to delay official announcements of trades and free agent signings, though some have found creative ways to skirt these mandates.
UPDATE (9:29 a.m. ET): Brady and the Bucs have agreed on a doctor.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020