Tom Brady and retirement is never a simple process. Even with the 45-year-old quarterback submitting the paperwork to the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still dealing with the ramifications of his contract.
The team will incur a hefty cap charge of $35.1 million from the Brady deal, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports. The Buccaneers could have made an arrangement with Brady that dispersed the money out more evenly across multiple years to afford them some flexibility. For whatever reason, no such agreement was made. Now, the Bucs are instead preparing to take the hit full force, all at once.
It is never prudent for a team to venture into a new era by immediately making a baffling decision. It is possible that things ended ugly between Brady and the organization with this being his parting shot right to Tampa’s gut. Regardless, the move will send the same message to fans. And that is: improving the roster is not a top priority this offseason.
The Bucs struggled in Brady’s final season, limping toward the NFC South Divisional Title before being ousted in the Wild Card round by the Dallas Cowboys. Now that he is gone, they should expect to face even more adversity, the amount that usually forebodes a rebuild.
Nevertheless, one would have reasonably expected management to give it the old college try in free agency by going after a quarterback and other pieces who could keep the team competitive. With further damage being done to their cap space, ownership might as well be waving the white flag from atop Raymond James Stadium. At least where fans are concerned, and at least for next season.
Tom Brady’s arrival thrust the franchise into a three-year period of relevancy it had never known before. There is a cruel irony to his departure being the decisive factor in the Bucs possibly plunging back into the abyss.