NFL News & Analysis

Fallout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady's retirement

Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) makes a call at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

What was first reported last weekend has now become official: Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is retiring from football.

After 22 years — 20 with the New England Patriots and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — in the NFL, one of the most legendary careers comes to an end.

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The story has already been told countless times, but Brady, out of the University of Michigan, was a sixth-round pick for the Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft who found playing time in 2001 when starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in Week 3 of that season. The rest is NFL history. Brady started the rest of the season, won the Super Bowl and then went on to win another six — the most ever. He finished with 10 Super Bowl appearances. 

The statistics are gaudy. He holds the NFL record for most passing yards, most touchdowns and most wins by a player, among many others. Since 2006, in the 15 seasons that PFF has data — discounting his 2008 year where he was injured — his grade fell below 80.0 just four times and was above 90.0 an incredible seven times. 

Brady leaves a lasting legacy on the two teams he played for but also the NFL as a whole and is a sure-fire first-ballot NFL Hall-of-Famer.

He also leaves a big void at quarterback for the Buccaneers. The team was the perfect landing spot for Brady in summer 2020 with a roster built for success and in need of a signal-caller. Now, that same roster is a little older, a little more expensive and without a quarterback once more.

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Importantly, star receiver Chris Godwin is a free agent, and without Brady throwing him passes in Tampa Bay, that could mean his departure as well. Blaine Gabbert backed up Brady this season, but he is not the short-term or long-term answer. The team drafted Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but it remains to be seen whether he can take the reins going forward. 

The free-agent quarterback market is not as populous as it was last season, but Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota could be stopgaps for the short term. Former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is also a free agent, but that reunion seems unlikely. A trade with the San Francisco 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo could be a possible route as well.

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This could also spell the end for longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski, who has only ever caught passes from Brady. Gronkowski had originally retired from the Patriots at the end of the 2018 season but came back to sign with the Buccaneers and play with Brady two seasons ago. 


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