Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement via his official social media pages. Brady was set to become an unrestricted free agent. His decision to retire alters the quarterback market for several teams, including the Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers.
The Raiders were expected to furiously pursue Brady’s services this offseason. General manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels have made a public decision to release or trade veteran quarterback Derek Carr. Carr’s eventual departure will thrust the Raiders into the QB market.
McDaniels runs a complicated system. Vegas’ regime is entering a critical second season after disappointing in 2022 and they’re unlikely to entrust their fates to a rookie signal-caller. With Patrick Mahomes/Andy Reid, Justin Herbert, and now Russell Wilson/Sean Payton competing within their division, the Raiders must make a bold move this offseason. Signing Brady would have checked off that box.
McDaniels and Brady won six Super Bowls together. Ziegler was present for three championships. The Raiders were almost certainly going to make a play for Brady. Brady’s retirement increases the likelihood of Jimmy Garoppolo signing with the Raiders. Garoppolo, an unrestricted free agent, is now the lone veteran quarterback available that’s familiar with McDaniels’ system.
Speaking of Garoppolo, he isn’t expected back in San Francisco next season. The 49ers were just eliminated from the postseason via a lackluster 31-7 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles. No. 3 quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a serious injury and was forced to exit the contest, leaving the 49ers without a viable quarterback. It’s plausible to believe Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are a quarterback away from Super Bowl dominance. The rest of the roster is littered with high-end talent. Brady is also from the area (San Mateo, California). With Brady firmly off the table, the 49ers are likely to hold an open competition next season between Purdy and Trey Lance.
Miami represented another potential landing spot for Brady. The Dolphins were serious players for Brady following his departure from the New England Patriots. So much so that the franchise was docked for tampering, losing their 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round selection in the process. Those pesky Brady-to-Miami rumors were beginning to run rampant once again after starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered through another injury-filled campaign.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel remains with the Dolphins despite rumors that owner Stephen Ross considered moving on. McDaniel was initially hired to maximize Tagovailoa’s development. Tagovailoa showcased legitimate flashes of improvement under McDaniel’s tutelage. All signs now indicate that it’ll be McDaniel and Tagovailoa once again for the Dolphins in 2023.
And now we’ve reached the team that Brady’s retirement most obviously impacts, the Buccaneers. Reports indicated Brady was considering retirement or returning to Tampa in 2023. That went against previous reports that stated Brady was set to test the free agency waters.
The Buccaneers’ quarterback situation is the most complicated of all. Tampa Bay is currently projected to be $55.3 million over the cap, per Spotrac. They rank dead last in available cap space. Several veterans are expected to be released, including running back Leonard Fournette. Head coach Todd Bowles is going through the process of hiring a new offensive coordinator after firing Byron Leftwich. Tampa Bay’s offense is going to look significantly different next season.
Former second-round selection Kyle Trask is the lone quarterback under contract with the Buccaneers. Even veteran journeyman Blaine Gabbert is scheduled for free agency. The Buccaneers could re-sign Gabbert, who their staff is awfully familiar with, on the cheap as a bridge-type option. The Buccaneers’ financial situation indicates they can’t afford to be players for Garoppolo or Carr. Drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds such as Tanner McKee, Jaren Hall, or Jake Haener, or acquiring a more affordable veteran such as Sam Darnold, Jacoby Brissett, or Marcus Mariota may be more realistic.
Brady retires as the greatest quarterback to ever lace up a pair of cleats. His retirement leaves a resounding impact on several franchises. The impending offseason just became even more unpredictable.
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