As quickly as Tom Brady’s aspirations for an auspicious au revoir from the New England Patriots and longtime head coach Bill Belichick, the news of Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach Bruce Arians comes just as swiftly. TB no longer becomes just word play for both Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, it’s as crazy an intersection as we’ve witnessed with Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs, or Brett Favre with the New York Jets or Minnesota Vikings. Will the reality seem like a dream? Can Brady extend his legacy in a different context?
Tampa is the expected landing spot for Tom Brady barring anything unforeseen, sources tell me and @JeffDarlington.
There's no signing date or announcement officially set up, but Brady is expected to be a Buccaneer.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020
As PFN Insiders Tony Pauline and Ben Allbright reported, the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders made a push, and the Miami Dolphins did inquire, but the Buccaneers ended up securing Brady’s services.
How did Tom Brady land in Tampa Bay?
Make no mistake, Bruce Arians left the Buccaneers quarterback situation bluntly at the conclusion of the 2019 season:
(when asked if his team could win with another quarterback): “With another quarterback? Oh yeah. If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too,” Arians said, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
The infamous “30 for 30” season in which former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions — the first quarterback in history to achieve a 30-for-30 season — clearly landed Winston in a no man’s land with the current coaching staff.
Simultaneously in New England, another quarterback appeared ominous to hit free agency for the first time in his 21-year playing career:
In the end, a tangible effort by the Patriots to keep Tom Brady in New England never happened. No negotiation. Just the intimation that it was on Brady to say what he wanted. For Brady, that stance spoke volumes.
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 17, 2020
When the announcement became official from Tom Brady’s camp, the sports world began to finally hypothesize what Tom Brady would look like without the Foxborough familiarity of Bill Belichick and friends. Purists always revered the age-old debate of whether Brady or Belichick had more to do with the Patriots dynasty, and now there will be a chance to see one independently of the other.
Can Tom Brady succeed in Tampa Bay?
Tom Brady finished as QB29 in PFN’s OSM metric. The short answer, considering Bruce Arians’ typically vertical offense relying on a quarterback who threw the ball downfield rarely, is another word play in itself: the short answer is they have to throw it short. The Patriots scheme, especially of late, has reflected this. It begs the question: did the scheme limit Brady or did Brady limit the scheme?
Bruce Arians is as touted and as aggressive a tutor when it comes to the quarterback landscape. Any lost sparkle hidden in Gillette Stadium’s tundra can be unlocked by Arians, but what happens if Brady is exposed early? We haven’t seen Brady in a Disney-inspired passing of the torches, and thus, if he’s brought in a mentorship role for the next new Buccaneers quarterback, this is a less calculated move than it is cavalier.
For a Buccaneers team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2007 season and a player that has made it every single year since 2007 except one, the intersection of possibilities is nothing short of amazing.