Longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in a move that sent shockwaves around the NFL on Tuesday morning, announced across social media that he is "continuing elsewhere," signaling a departure from the Patriots in 2020 free agency. Here is what Brady had to say:
To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization. I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values. I am grateful for all that you have taught me - I have learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximize my potential and that is all a player can ever hope for. Everything we have accomplished brings me great joy and the lessons I have learned will carry on with me forever. I couldn't be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you. I have benefited from all you have given me. I cherished every opportunity I had to be a part of our team, and I love you all for that. Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that. Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible team accomplishments. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and everyone of you, and to have the memories we've created together.
Brady entered the league as a sixth round pick, No. 199 overall, in the 2000 NFL Draft. Since receiving a starting opportunity in place of the injured Drew Bledsoe, he has gone on to win six Super Bowls and was named MVP in four of those appearances. He has completed 6,377 of 9,988 passes for 74,571 yards, 541 touchdowns and 179 interceptions. The 42-year-old has been named an NFL MVP three times and was selected to 14 Pro Bowls. His claim as the NFL's best ever quarterback is strong.
It will be weird to see Brady wearing a new uniform after 20 seasons. It will be interesting to see how the legacies of head coach Bill Belichick and Brady divert, and potentially grow, in the coming years.
Tom Brady is officially leaving the Patriots -- you read that right. What does it all mean? Where does he go next? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends are here to break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said that the Buccaneers and Chargers had already extended an offer worth upwards of $30 million. According to Tom Curran of NBC Boston, an announcement on where Brady will be playing next is not expected to come Tuesday. The Colts are not expected to get involved, according to ESPN's Ed Werder. They are satisfied in their pursuit of Philip Rivers. The Las Vegas Raiders might also be enticed.
Brady also penned a lengthy farewell to the Pats Nation:
I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters. MA has been my home for twenty years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England. The support has been overwhelming - I wish every player could experience it. My children were born and raised here and you always embraced this California kid as your own. I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for our city means more than you will ever know. I can't thank you enough for the support of our team. The packed training camps and sold out stadiums and mostly the victory parades. I have been so blessed to share them with you all. I tried to represent us always in the best and most honorable way and I fought hard with my teammates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most dire situations. You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me. I don't know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we have shared - a lifetime full of fun memories.
New England is left with Cody Kessler and Jarrett Stidham on the roster at quarterback. Stidham, a fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, would be the most viable option to start in Brady's absence. However, he only attempted four passes last season and one ended in an interception. The Patriots hold the No. 23 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and could choose to pursue an alternative with that choice. The other possibility is that the franchise pursues another veteran quarterback either in free agency or via trade. Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton are some of the players expected to be available through those methods.
Despite his absence on the roster, the Patriots will carry over $13.5 million in dead salary cap space because of a non-extension extension that he signed in August of 2019, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero.