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Tom Brady officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, calling it a career after 22 seasons. Three days later, he's still officially on the Buccaneers' roster despite pledging to hang it up, with no retirement designation coming from the team on this week's transaction wire. While Bucs fans may want to believe that means Brady hasn't actually finalized his decision, the reality is that financial hurdles are the holdup. And they could keep the reigning Super Bowl MVP on Tampa Bay's roster until summer.

Brady, 44, is technically under contract with the Bucs through the 2022 season after signing a one-year extension last March. While he would've been due $20.3 million if he had suited up next season, a move to the reserve/retired list would leave the Bucs with a $32 million dead cap hit -- and almost $11.8 million in lost salary cap space. Same goes if Brady were to be outright released by Tampa Bay -- a strategy that other retiring QBs, like former Cowboys starter Tony Romo, have sought to become free agents in the event of future comebacks, as ProFootballTalk notes.

If, however, the Bucs designate him as a post-June 1 release, or more likely wait until June 2 to move him from the active roster to the reserve/retired list, they'd only be on the hook for an $8 million dead cap hit, and they'd instantly save $12.3 million. In that scenario, they'd also be on the hook for an $8 million dead cap hit in 2023, but they'd save an additional $16 million that offseason. The Saints demonstrated this process prior to the 2021 season, when they didn't officially place retired QB Drew Brees on the reserve/retired list until June 11 in order to recoup salary cap space.

In other words, Brady will likely remain on the Bucs' roster until June. The other possibility is that he and Tampa Bay agree to an entirely renegotiated deal to make the transition financially feasible. That, however, may happen regardless, with general manager Jason Licht telling reporters this week that Tampa Bay has already been in contract talks with Brady's representation.

"(We) knew that if we were in this scenario that we would be able to work that out," Licht said.

Unless Brady is released as part of the negotiations, a la Romo, his rights will officially remain with Tampa Bay for one more season. At that point, Bucs fans could then start daydreaming about a future return, unlikely as it may be.