By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Tom Brady has decided where to write his next football chapter. And above all else, he chose the place that showed him what he wasn’t going to get again in New England: real commitment.
It’s now known that Brady has signed a two-year deal with the Bucs with a base value of $50 million. The important detail is that the $50 million is fully guaranteed. There’s no chance the Pats offered anything close to that number in their reported final offer of two years and $53 million.
The Bucs haven’t played in the playoffs since the 2007 season. If Brady in their uniform is anything resembling the all-time great he’s been for a long time, that figures to change. But there are certainly other reasons Brady found Tampa, of all places, attractive.
Brady joins up with Bruce Arians, a quarterback-friendly coach whose Bucs led the league in passing yards and finished third in passing touchdowns last season. He’s known for a more laid-back, less demanding presence than Bill Belichick and a guy who knows how to scheme an offense. One might describe him as “collaborative.”
Brady also takes a Clydesdale trot into an impressive stable of pass-catchers, led by hulking mismatch Mike Evans and tough, sure-handed inside beast Chris Godwin. Arians isn’t known for getting tight ends involved in the passing game, but you’d have to imagine Brady would like to make O.J. Howard a factor for the first time in his career and take Cameron Brate to a new level.
Tampa retained key defensive talent, too. Jason Pierre-Paul is back on a two-year deal while edge rusher Shaquil Barrett got the franchise tag. They still have Lavonte David and just drafted linebacker Devin White fifth overall in 2019. They went 7-9 with Jameis Winston throwing 30 interceptions in 2019. With Brady, the win column should jump to at least 10 or 11.
Brady will bring his incomparable intangibles and leadership that elevated the Patriots in so many big games and moments over the past 20 years. Teammates will feed off of him, gain confidence in themselves by competing on his level, commit to winning just to attempt to match his legendary drive. Brady will be reinvigorated and motivated to get ring No. 7 and prove to doubters he could do it outside of the confines of Belichick’s black-magic “system.”
Bucs fans who just spent two decades calling Brady a “system quarterback” or a “cheater” or a variety of other pejoratives will have to change their tune. They’re not used to a QB who makes winning plays in the most nondescript of moments. They’ll watch him do things like make a throwaway at a receiver’s feet rather than take a sack or chuck an interception into triple coverage, and go “Wait you can do that?”
But most importantly, the Bucs are going to give Brady what he wasn’t getting from Belichick anymore. They’re giving Brady what Belichick hasn’t wanted to do for a few years now, what Belichick has ostensibly been avoiding in order to turn the page on the Patriots’ own next chapter, which is something that simply has to be written at some point.
They’re giving Brady commitment. Real, actual commitment. And the appreciation, love, and wins that come with it will make the quarterback as happy as he’s been in a while.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.