Whether Tom Brady is actually retired is up for debate, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback hasn't officially retired from the league. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians seems to be convinced Brady is done with the NFL -- at least for this season.
"That would shock me," Arians said on a potential Brady return, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "And he let us know in time to do the free agency like we've done in the past, that's why I don't see it happening."
The Buccaneers are keeping their options open in case Brady actually does decide to return for 2022 -- and some of his former teammates believe he's not actually done with football. Brady is still under contract with the Buccaneers for one more season and the Buccaneers can designate him as a post-June 1 release to save a significant amount of cap space -- that is, if Brady actually decides to officially retire (the Buccaneers haven't put him on the reserve/retired list yet).
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Whenever Tampa Bay does put Brady on the reserve/retired list, they'll retain his rights moving forward since Brady is still under contract. If Tampa Bay makes the move before June 2, the Buccaneers will suffer a $32 million dead cap hit -- but if it's on June 2 or after that date, the cap hit is spread out over two seasons. With the salary cap expected to rise again next offseason, it's a no-brainer for the Buccaneers to hold off placing Brady on the reserve/retired list -- unless he wants to return.
Until then, the speculation on whether Brady will return will continue -- whether it's with the Buccaneers or another team.