Tom Brady isn’t the only one impacted by his decision to retire from the NFL.
Far from it, in fact.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion announced Wednesday he’s hanging up his cleats after 23 seasons, 20 of which he spent with the New England Patriots before finishing his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the news has widespread implications across the NFL (and beyond).
Let’s run down the biggest winners and losers of Brady’s retirement.
Let’s start with the obvious. This has been a tumultuous year for the Brady bunch, with the 45-year-old and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, divorcing after 13 years of marriage. Brady remains a devoted father, though, and him stepping away from the gridiron should give him more time to spend with his three children, Jack, Benjamin and Vivian.
Take a deep breath, Bill. It’s over. While Belichick probably hasn’t devoted too much time to monitoring Brady these past three years, with the Patriots having their own problems and all, Wednesday’s retirement at least prevents the QB from running up the score on his former coach. Brady, of course, won a Super Bowl title in his first season with the Buccaneers, whereas the Patriots still are searching for their first playoff victory since his 2020 departure. Brady’s retirement also is good news for New England in that he’s not taking his talents to the New York Jets, a quarterback-needy AFC East rival.
Green Bay Packers
Brady’s removal from the free agent market means one less option for quarterback-needy teams, like the Jets, and that’s good news for the Packers, who basically hold the keys to the NFL offseason if they decide to trade Aaron Rodgers. Even if the price to acquire Rodgers didn’t skyrocket with Wednesday’s news, it definitely didn’t decrease. He’ll presumably be the most-sought-after QB, unless the Baltimore Ravens ultimately make Lamar Jackson available.
Other free agent quarterbacks
Basically, the same logic regarding the Packers and Rodgers applies here. One less fish in the pond is a positive development for the other fish. They might land somewhere they otherwise wouldn’t (on a contract they otherwise wouldn’t obtain) now that Brady has removed his name from the top of the free agency board. This list includes Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr (assuming he’s cut by the Las Vegas Raiders) and Geno Smith, among others.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Again, let’s start with the obvious. Brady might’ve left Tampa Bay, anyway, if he returned for a 24th NFL season. But the door at least remained open until Brady slammed it shut Wednesday. Now, the Bucs enter the offseason with a ton of quarterback uncertainty — their backup, Blaine Gabbert, is a free agent and third-stringer Kyle Trask has attempted just nine passes in the NFL — that could doom their chances of contending in 2023.
Teams that need a quarterback
We more or less touched on this angle in the “winners” section, but non-rebuilding teams with QB vacancies probably had one eye on the Brady situation, wondering whether he could be the missing piece. This list includes the New York Jets, the Las Vegas Raiders, the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, among others. There also were other teams that conceivably could’ve considered a QB shakeup, including the Miami Dolphins, the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots.
Olsen has been keeping the seat warm for Brady at FOX. The plan for Brady when he signed a 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX back in May was for him to be the network’s lead NFL analyst, in the booth alongside No. 1 play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt. If that’s still the plan, it’ll bump Olsen, who’s actually come into his own this season, in turn creating an interesting (and expensive) dilemma for FOX.
Love him or hate him, Brady moves the needle. Even if you don’t realize it now, there probably will come a point next season where you miss him being a part of the weekly NFL conversation. There always was extra intrigue when Brady was involved. After all, he’s the greatest quarterback in NFL history.