Should Tom Brady take the bait from the Buccaneers?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly going hard after Tom Brady. Should the future Hall of Famer buy into the hype and go to Florida?

The general consensus is that if Tom Brady leaves the New England Patriots, it’ll be for another contender. That hasn’t stopped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from throwing their name in the hat, though.

It’s no secret that the situation between Tampa and longtime quarterback Jameis Winston is murky at best. While the former Florida State Seminole has all the potential in the world, he’s coming off a season in which he threw 30 interceptions. Head coach Bruce Arians hasn’t seemed too fond of him.

This offseason’s free agent quarterback class is one of the best we’ve seen in recent memory. Names like Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, and the aforementioned Winston could all find new homes. Oh yeah, a guy named Tom Brady is also set to test the free agent waters for the first time in his illustrious career.

Per the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud, the Bucs are “going all in” on Brady’s services. This means a sales pitch will be made by Arians and general manager Jason Licht. Tampa Bay does rank among the league leaders in available cap space this offseason, but a lot of that will be used up quickly. There’d still be more than enough left to offer a whopper of a deal to Brady, though.

Most would consider Brady the greatest quarterback of all-time. He’s won six Super Bowls and holds many records that will stand for quite some time. With that said, does he want to join a team that finished 7-9 a season ago?

The Buccaneers slowly improved throughout the season under Arians, who has coached some pretty good quarterbacks in his own right. His system is extremely complex but with that comes the ability to do some brilliant things offensively. At the age of 67, he’s in win-now mode and is searching for his first ring as a head coach.

Brady is in a similar spot. At 42 (43 by the start of the 2020 season), he’s driven by the desire to win more and accomplish more. He’s never played for any franchise other than the Patriots. Does he want to leave 20 years of winning and history behind so he can start fresh at this stage of his career?

Maybe he does, but the fit is questionable. While Mike Evans and Chris Godwin make for a terrific one-two punch at wide receiver, Brady’s never played under Arians. Would Arians hand him the keys to the offense? Even if the team brings back Shaquill Barrett, the defense is still a work in progress. The team just isn’t as good as the New England squads Brady has been a part of.

On top of that, Brady isn’t what he used to be. 2019 was his worst season in years and the minor injuries he’s dealt with probably won’t become less frequent as he ages. We saw a year ago what a less-than-perfect Brady-led team was capable of. He’s not the comeback king he used to be. He’s still Tom Brady, but far from the best version of himself.

One more thing to consider: Brady has never won without Belichick. Although that could be a goal of his and it would undoubtedly silence his critics, it’s a risky proposition. The money in Tampa Bay would be nice and there are some building blocks in place but are the Bucs a better team than, say, the Tennessee Titans? Not at all.

At the end of the day, Brady doesn’t have anything left to prove. Perhaps he wants to put the whole “he can’t win without Belichick” narrative to rest. It’s the one thing left that people still wonder about.

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Even if that’s the case, though, he has a better shot of accomplishing that outside of Florida.

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