Tom Brady leaves Patriots for Buccaneers: Tampa reportedly strikes trade with New England for Rob Gronkowski

Tom Brady is following the path of fellow legendary quarterbacks like Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre and is leaving the team he will be most recognized with. The six-time Super Bowl champion announced on Tuesday, March 17 that he'll be moving on from the New England Patriots after 20 years with the franchise and "continuing elsewhere" in the NFL

"To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization," Brady wrote in a statement. "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."

It's truly the end of an era. 

As Brady's days as a New England Patriot are up, he now heads down to Tampa Bay to be the next quarterback of the Buccaneers

Hello, Tampa Bay

Once word got out that Brady was going to leave the New England Patriots, it became clear that the Buccaneers were in the driver's seat to land TB12. On Friday, just a couple days after the start of the new league year, Brady had his physical done and made it official that he is heading to Tampa Bay. 

"Excited, humble and hungry," Brady wrote on Instagram. "If there is one thing I have learned about football, it's that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that...you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day. I'm starting a new football journey and thankful for the Buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do. I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me...I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I'm not gonna say much more - I'm just gonna get to work!

Introductory conference call

Brady was officially introduced as the next Buccaneers quarterback during a conference call on Tuesday, March 24. Under normal circumstances, there would have been a press conference that would have shown Brady at the team facility, but the current COVID-19 pandemic has prevented that from taking place.  

"Tom [Brady] is quite simply the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football," said Buccaneers GM Jason Licht. "Tom in free agency was our No. 1 priority this offseason because we knew he'd be a perfect fit for what we're trying to do here. He's a Buccaneer today not for what he did in the past, but what we know he can accomplish here in the near future as well." 

Head coach Bruce Arians also expressed his excitement to work alongside the best quarterback who has ever done it saying, "I've been very, very blessed to have coached and have been around some great ones and now I have the greatest one of all-time."

As for Brady, he started by saying this was "an exciting moment for me in my life" and quickly shifted focus to getting up to speed with the Buccaneers offense, which appeared to be a point of emphasis in his early comments. 

"The expectation for me is to come in and do what I feel is right for the organization and that is to be a great team player and I'm going to do everything I can to get up to speed with all the things that I need to do and what my responsibilities are," Brady said. 

When speaking of his former team in the New England Patriots, Brady had nothing but fond things to say about the club, but tried to steer clear of solely talking about his departure.

"I leave there with such great admiration for the people in that organization," he said. "It is a first-class organization in every way and I wanted to leave it that way, too." 

Contract with Buccaneers

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that Tom Brady's deal with the Buccaneers is for two years at $50 million fully guaranteed. He also has $4.5 million a year available in incentives. Coupled with the money, the contract includes language that does not allow the Buccaneers to trade him and there are no franchise tag provisions. 

According to Sports Illustrated, Tom Brady also has some postseason incentive in his new Bucs contract. He will earn $500,000 if he leads Tampa to the playoffs, $750,000 if he wins a single playoff game, and things shoot up to $1.25 million if he takes them to the NFC Championship and $1.75 million if he wins that game. If the Bucs win the Super Bowl, Brady will see an extra $2.25 million. 

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Scouting report on Brady

Pros: 

  • Efficient at getting the ball out quick (66.67 completion percentage with < 2.5 seconds in the pocket)
  • Continues to keep turnovers at a minimum (eight interceptions in 2019) 
  • Can still play at an elite level with capable pass catchers around him (Patriots receivers had 34 drops in 2019, ranking second-worst in the entire NFL)
  • Durable - hasn't missed a game due to injury since 2008 
  • Championship pedigree

Cons: 

  • Age/short window - Will be 43-years-old by the start of the regular season
  • Can no longer carry a team solely by himself 
  • Immobile 
  • Starts to break down as the season progresses

Latest news

Buccaneers acquire Gronk from Pats

Tuesday, April 21: Not only are the Buccaneers getting Tom Brady this offseason, but the club has also acquired tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has come out of retirement specifically to join his former quarterback in Tampa. The Patriots have reportedly agreed to deal the former All-Pro tight end and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fourth-rounder. 

Rumbling about this potential deal have been around for the past few weeks and are now set to become official once Tampa Bay gets its eyes on Gronkowski's physical, which he has reportedly already taken in Boston. The 30-year-old tight end has consistently kept the door open for a possible return to the NFL after retiring following Super Bowl LIII and has noted that Brady is the only quarterback he'd play for. With the six-time Super Bowl champion signing with the Bucs this offseason, that put a reunion on the table. 

Now, Gronkowski is added to an already lethal pass-catching group consisting of receiver Mike Evan and Chris Godwin along with fellow tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. 

Rob Gronkowski responds to Bucs rumor 

Monday, April 20: In the mist of an Instagram Live last week, retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski actually fielded a question regarding the rumor that he may come out of retirement to join forces with Tom Brady down in Tampa Bay. While Gronk didn't say that was his intention, he also didn't refute it. Instead, he poked some fun at the Twitter account that initially brought the rumor to life. 

"Wow, PFT Commenter. Yo, you know PFT Commenter, his dog is starting some crazy rumors out there," Gronk said. "His dog, Leroy, dog. You've got to keep your dog quiet. Leroy, you got to stay quiet, man. Oh man, he's barking up a storm."

Why Peyton Manning is surprised Brady left for Tampa 

Sunday, April 19: During a SportsCenter interview, longtime rival of Tom Brady and former Colts/Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning explained that he was a "little bit surprised" that Brady ended up signing with an NFC teams like the Buccaneers. 

"That was interesting," Manning said. "I'm a little surprised he jumped over to the NFC. I always see Tom Brady as an AFC guy, so he's going to have to go through initiation to learn the ropes of the NFC, but they got a great team around him, it sounds like."

Manning also noted that the NFC South is "a tough division" and should be quite the challenge for Brady and his new Bucs squad. 

Is Gronk going to reunite with Brady down in Tampa? 

Thursday, April 9: With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, current Bucs GM Jason Licht was asked about the possibility of the club potentially trying to acquire the rights of retired tight end Rob Gronkowski. The former go-to weapon for Brady is still under Patriots control, but could, in theory, be acquired via trade if he were interested in coming out of retirement to play alongside TB12. 

"Well he's doing a pretty good job in WrestleMania right now," Licht said of Gronkowski, who has since been hired by the WWE. "I have no idea if he'd want to play."

The Bucs GM didn't exactly close the door and, if Gronk were interested in playing again, it would make sense for Tampa Bay to at least make a call to Bill Belichick to see what the price tag would be.  

Brady appears on Howard Stern

Wednesday, April 8: Brady joined legendary radio host Howard Stern on SiriusXM and dove deep into a number of topics during their two-hour discussion. As it relates to the Buccaneers, Brady simply stated that it was time to move on from New England and does appear eager to join Tampa Bay. He noted that the presence of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were obvious selling points along with head coach Bruce Arians. 

"I like him a lot," Brady told Stern. "I think part of the reason I chose here is a lot of reasons. I learned so much about having the opportunity to evaluate where the priorities were for me. Coaching obviously was important, hugely important." 

To see the biggest takeaways from Brady's appearance, click here

Brady arrives in Tampa, moves into Jeter's mansion 

Thursday, April 2: According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Brady has arrived in the Tampa and will be moving into a Davis Islands mansion that was built by Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter. The 30,000 square foot mansion includes seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an entertainment and billiards room and a pool that overlooks the ocean. It's also around a six-mile drive to the Bucs facility. 

Brady pitched himself to Tampa Bay

Monday, March 30: During an appearance on ESPN's Get Up! on Monday, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said that it was actually Tom Brady who was making the pitch to join Tampa Bay in their initial meeting. 

"We had a great conversation -- Bruce (Arians) and I -- we talked to him for over an hour and a half. And he made it clear in the conversation that he was very, very interested," Licht said. "It was almost like a recruitment on his part, telling us why it would make sense for him to come to Tampa Bay. 

"The next call we made, we signed him, but it was at that phone call that we realized, that we felt like we had him."

TB x TB trademark 

Thursday, March 26: Tom Brady and his representation, Yee & Dubin Sports, filed a trademark application for the "TB x TB" slogan last week. The phrase, of course, is a play on Tom Brady's shared initials with his new home in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have already begun using the slogan on social media and the quarterback seems to be intent on securing it for future endeavors. 

Arians has faith in Brady's deep ball

Thursday, March 26: Tom Brady's new head coach Bruce Arians showed tremendous confidence in his ability to still throw the deep ball and fit seamlessly into Tampa's offense, despite suggestions to the contrary. 

"I think the perception is just wrong," Arians said Wednesday, per ESPN. "I thought his deep ball was outstanding last year. Through their play-action game, they hit a lot of deep balls. And our quarterback -- I thought he put it as good as anybody -- throw it to the guy who's open."

Arians: Brady moving family down to Tampa

Wednesday, March 25:  During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that Tom Brady will be bringing his entire family down with him to Tampa. He said Brady is "moving his family to a great town." 

Tom Brady's one demand 

Sunday, March 22: According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Tom Brady's only demand when he met with head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht was simply the phones numbers of every player on the roster. The quarterback didn't ask for roster control or a strong hand in the offensive play-calling. Instead, he just wanted to get to know some of his newest teammates. 

Patriots take out full-page ad in Tampa Bay Times

Sunday, March 22: The Kraft family and the New England Patriots took out a full-page ad in the Tampa Bay Times to thank Tom Brady for his two-decades of service with the franchise and to wish him well with the Buccaneers. The ad also read: "To the Buccaneers fans and Tampa Bay community -- take care of him. You got a great one." 

Patriots would have offered Brady similar contract

Friday, March 20: Brady's contract with the Bucs is a two-year, $50 million deal fully guaranteed. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, that was a contract that the Patriots likely would have done, but the quarterback never came to them with the desire to return. Because of that, there was no offer from New England. 

As for what his market really was, Rapoport adds that the Chargers and Bucs came in with offers, the Patriots waited to see if he wanted to return, the Raiders and Niners briefly discussed it, and the Titans were all in on Ryan Tannehill. 

Buccaneers officially announce Tom Brady signing

Friday, March 20: After conducting his physical remotely, the Buccaneers finally made Tom Brady's signing official. In the press release Tampa included that they will be looking to contend for multiple championships with Brady under center. 

Bucs G.M. Jason Licht: "Tom is a proven champion who has achieved greatness on the field because he demands the best out of himself and his teammates. I've known Tom since we drafted him in New England 20 years ago and through this process it became very clear that his desire to be a champion burns as strong today as it ever has. He possesses the type of rare natural leadership qualities that will immediately impact our entire organization."

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians: "Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history of our league, but what makes him so special is his ability to make those around him better. I have had the privilege to work with some of the best passers in our game, and the characteristics they all possessed were the ability to lead and get the best out of their teammates. Tom is no different. He is a proven winner who will provide the leadership, accountability and work ethic necessary to lead us to our goal of winning another championship."

Tom Brady taking physical in New York

Thursday, March 19: It's essentially a lock that Tom Brady is heading down to Tampa to join the Buccaneers, but the coronavirus pandemic is partially halting the official announcement. For Brady, he still needs to take his physical, but because he cannot travel down to the Bucs facility, the two sides have agreed for him to have it done in New York, according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN. Ideally, team doctors would look at Brady, but this is one way to speed up the process. 

Patriots say goodbye with billboards across New England

Thursday, March 19: The Patriots are sending Tom Brady off with well wishes. As Mike Reiss of ESPN's highlights, the Kraft family and the organization have 12 billboards spread across the region that bid farewell to the franchise icon. 

"Thank you Tom. The greatest of all time! With love, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots" 

Brady offered identical framework to Chargers and Bucs

Wednesday, March 18: According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Tom Brady's camp sent the same contract terms to both the Chargers and Bucs and both teams agreed. The requested payment, Florio reports, is "in the $30 million rage" for each of the next two years. Part of the reason why Tampa is set to win out on this sweepstakes is partly because of the talent on the roster, no state income tax in Florida, and being on the east cost was a factor for family reasons. 

Tom Brady reunion with Antonio Brown?

Wednesday, March 18: According to the NFL Network, teams that were in the running for Tom Brady were under the impression that the quarterback wants to bring Antonio Brown with him wherever he signs. If there are no snags in negotiations and Brady does ink a deal with Tampa Bay, all eyes would quickly move to Brown to see if they'd sign him next. Of course, Brown is still under investigation by the NFL for allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, so even if he was signed he'd likely be placed on the Commissioner Exempt List for as long as the investigations goes.  

Tom Brady expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tuesday, March 17: In the hours following Tom Brady goodbye to the New England Patriots, it has grown clear that the quarterback is set to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the new league year opens on Wednesday. The Chargers were also in the mix for Brady, but the fact that Tampa allows Brady to stay on the east coast proved to be a major factor in the Bucs favor. Here's everything you need to know about how Tom Brady fits with the Buccaneers

Execs peg Miami Dolphins as possible Brady destination

Tuesday, March 17: Following the news that Tom Brady will not be returning to the Patriots in 2020, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that executives around the league think that the Miami Dolphins could make a lot of sense for the six-time Super Bowl champion. He could serve as the ideal bridge quarterback over the next few seasons, especially if they draft Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft

Kraft and Belichick release statements on Brady

Tuesday, March 17: In the wake of Tom Brady's announcement that he'll leave the franchise, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick released two lengthy statements. 

Tom Brady announces he will not return to the Patriots 

Tuesday, March 17: Tom Brady announced through his social media channels that he will not be returning to the New England Patriots in 2020, ending his 20 year run with the franchise. 

"I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters," he said in a statement. "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."

Tampa Bay making hard push for Brady

Monday, March 16: According to Mike Giardi of the NFL Network, Tampa has their intentions to Brady "loud and clear." The Bucs are now considered the favorites to land Brady (via William Hill) and it seems like they are making it very apparent that he is their No. 1 option. While it may seem odd to think of Brady ending up in a Bucs uniform, you can't deny the potential their offense has with receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. 

Titans not interested in Tom Brady

Sunday, March 15:  As Brady is set to hit free agency this week, the Titans have agreed to terms with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the team announced on Sunday. The deal will pay him $118 million and keep him in Tennessee for the next four years.

With the Titans out of the running for Brady, the list for the future Hall of Famer diminishes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers are in the market for Brady if he doesn't re-sign with the New England Patriots. Russini reported last week that the Buccaneers are ready to give Brady "whatever he wants" if the quarterback is willing to sign with them.

Tampa Bay is going all in on Brady

Wednesday, March 11: ESPN's Dianna Russini reported on Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to give Tom Brady "whatever he wants" if the quarterback is willing to sign with them. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times confirmed on Wednesday that the Bucs "are going all in on Tom Brady." 

Jon Gruden irked by constant Brady questions

Wednesday, March 11: The Vegas Raiders have been one of the main teams linked to Tom Brady this offseason, but it appears like that's starting to irk head coach Jon Gruden. During an recent event in Las Vegas, Gruden was once again asked about Brady and didn't seem too pleased about it. 

"You're killing me, man," Gruden said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Instead, Gruden elected to use that time to give a vote of confidence to his current quarterback in Derek Carr. 

"We love our quarterback," Gruden said of Carr. "Our quarterback's a really good player. I want to reiterate that to everybody here in Vegas. We've got a good, young quarterback, and the film, the statistics and analytics prove it." 

Tom Brady's two big demands

Wednesday, March 11: According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, Brady has two big "wants" as he looks for his next destination. The first is "control over roster" and the second is that "he wants to be part of making decisions on play calling." In New England, Brady already has a strong say in the offensive attack as he works in lockstep with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. The control over the roster, however, could end up being a big ask of Bill Belichick and other general managers across the league. 

Chargers' Austin Ekeler makes pitch to Tom Brady

Tuesday, March 10: Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler decided to make an intriguing pitch for Tom Brady to join his club during an appearance on NFL Total Access. On top of having "the pieces to make a run regardless" of what happens under center, Ekeler would embrace Brady's leadership. 

"Here's why I think it would be a good fit. We just lost a lot of leadership in Philip Rivers, right? So it's like, all right, there's a void there now," Ekeler said. "Also, Russell Okung, one of our tackles, got traded. He was one of our team leaders as well. So there's a void in leadership right there. It's an opportunity for people to step up, but if you bring a guy like Tom Brady in the room, he's been there, done that. He's already got the leadership qualities and he's already proven that he's a winner. So hey, let's build something around that, too."

Tom Brady launches Hollywood production company

Monday, March 9: Tom Brady announced to Deadline that he has launched 199 Productions, a global multi-platform content company that will develop original premium content including documentaries, feature films and shows. Partnering with Brady on this latest endeavor are the Russo brothers (directed Avengers: Endgame), AGBO Films and Gotham Chopra, who is most famous for his Tom vs. Time documentary. 

Of course, this may not have much bearing on Brady's upcoming free agent decision, but it is noteworthy, especially when the Los Angeles Chargers have been one of the teams most heavily linked to the quarterback. Running that production company and playing in the same town would have its perks logistically. 

Tom Brady: 'Nobody knows anything'

Sunday, March 8: During a recent edition of Sirius XM NFL Radio's "Opening Drive," former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis revealed a text exchange that he had with Brady about his upcoming free agency. Here's the quick blurb of what Weis had to say about their conversation: 

"I do have one bit of scoop for us. I've been texting with Tommy. I don't [usually] pass along these conversations, but one thing he told me -- 'Nobody knows anything. So anyone who is telling you they know, they don't know.' I'm not going through any other part of the conversation [but] I followed up and he said, 'Clean it up.' So I'm cleaning it up."

Titans confident they can beat Pats for Brady

Friday, March 6: ESPN's Jeremy Fowler appeared on Get Up! and reported that "the Titans believe that they have a pretty good chance in a head-to-head matchup with the Patriots to land Tom Brady." He also noted that there is a "mystery team" that is "firmly in the mix" for the quarterback. As it relates to Tennessee, they've been looked at as a legit threat to pry Brady out of Foxborough almost immediately after they ousted New England from the playoffs a few months back. Not only do they have a roster that just reached the AFC championship, but head coach Mike Vrabel is extremely close with Brady. That should not be overlooked. 

Dana White makes pitch to Brady to join Raiders

Thursday, March 5: UFC president Dana White had Brady on Instagram Live on Wednesday and continued what he says has been a month-long pitch for the quarterback to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, a club that has already been heavily linked to Brady. The 42-year-old wouldn't comment on the Raiders specifically, but again kept his future open-ended. 

"I know it's been a lot of patience for me, and obviously being where I've been for 20 years -- it's been an amazing experience," said Brady of free agency. "I don't know what the future holds right now. I'm just trying to be patient through this process, it's my first time going through it, and in the meantime I'm going to spend a lot of time with my family over the next 10, 12 days. We have a little vacation planned, which I'm looking forward to."

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's call 'didn't go well' 

Wednesday, March 4: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have finally spoken about the quarterback's upcoming free agent status, but those talks "didn't go well," according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. Nothing else was really brought to light as it relates to their conversation other than it was a rocky start. This hardly means, however, that the two sides have closed up shop on keeping the band together, but they clearly have a lot to hammer out before free agency begins on March 18. 

Tom Brady to San Francisco is gaining steam 

Wednesday, March 4: Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston really put this rumor into hyperdrive during a SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio interview when he said that San Francisco is "closing hard on the outside" in the race to land Brady. He added that both sides would have interest in a potential marriage. On top of that, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reacted to Curran's report with a piece of her own that had her sources saying he "might be on to something." The 49ers could clear $22.4 million off their cap if they released current quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Colts and Giants out of the running for TB12

Tuesday, March 3: The Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants can be crossed off the list of potential Tom Brady landing spots, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB. Breer expanded on that saying he "was told pretty emphatically that neither club would be in the mix." The Chargers, Titans and Buccaneers were among the clubs that are still vying for Brady's services, per Breer, along with the Patriots. Breer also reported that owner Robert Kraft will not intervene on whatever head coach Bill Belichick ultimately decides. 

Tom Brady wants to play with Antonio Brown again

Monday, March 2: According to a report from ESPN, sources from Antonio Brown's camp have stated that Brady has remained in "consistent contact" with the talented, but troubled wide receiver. Brady has even told Brown to stay in strong mental and physical shape so that they have a chance to play together again wherever Brady signs this offseason. Brady and Brown had just one week together before he was released by the Patriots. In that Week 2 blowout of the Dolphins, the two connected on four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Given Brown's talent, it would make sense that Brady would want to play alongside him. With that said, Brown does have some legal matters and an ongoing NFL investigation into allegations of sexual assault before he can think about signing with another club. 

Dalton could be Plan B for New England if Brady bolts

Monday, March 2: In the event that Tom Brady elects to take his talents elsewhere in 2020, the NFL Network suggests that the Patriots could one of the teams reaching out to Cincinnati to see if they could bring veteran Andy Dalton in at QB1. Dalton -- who threw for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2019 -- is going to be kicked to the curb by the Bengals as they usher in LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first pick at the 2020 NFL Draft. The 32-year-old wouldn't be the worst option, but it seems like New England priority is to bring back Brady. This is simply Plan B, C, D or X. 

Raiders not all-in on Tom Brady? 

Monday, March 2: The Las Vegas Raiders have been one of the main teams linked to Tom Brady as he sits on the doorstep of free agency. While the finger has been pointed to Sin City as a possible destination beyond New England for TB12, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes that Vegas isn't totally all-in on trying to ink Brady to a deal, but will take the call if the quarterback's representation reaches out. Curran also reports that -- despite the two sides failing to meet at the NFL Combine -- "texts have been sent" and that "Bill Belichick is not freezing Brady out."  

Julian Edelman says Tom Brady is "coming back" 

Saturday, February 29: Tom Brady was spotted at the Syracuse-UNC matchup over the weekend and sitting with Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon. As the trio was shown on national television, Edelman told the camera "he's coming back, he's coming back" while pointing at Brady. The quarterback looked less-than-pleased with Edelman's comments as he shook his head. Does Edelman actually have the official word from Brady or is the receiver simply posturing to keep his quarterback in New England? Only those two (and maybe Fallon) know for sure.    

Colts not showing much interest in Brady? 

Friday, February 28: The Athletic's Stephen Holder reports that the Indianapolis Colts have not engaged in any discussions with Brady's camp. Despite previous reports that indicated Brady's reps would meet with Indy at the NFL scouting combine, Holder cites an anonymous league source that notes the Colts connection was not accurate. With that said, Holder admits that things could change for the Colts, who are looking to upgrade from Jacoby Brissett, if Brady does, in fact, hit the open market on March 18. Currently, fellow longtime NFL quarterback Philip Rivers seems like the favorite to land in Indy. 

CBA discussions could be what's holding up Brady talks 

Thursday, February 27: ESPN's Adam Schefter highlights that the current CBA discussions could be what's holding up contract negotiations between Brady and the Patriots. A source told Schefter,"Without knowing about the CBA, that talk can't happen." 

If the NFL and NFLPA come to terms on a new CBA, that could make things a bit easier in New England's attempt to re-sign Brady. Under that circumstance, they would not have to follow the "30 Percent Rule," which essentially would limit how much they could offer him in a new contract. A new CBA would also bring about the opportunity to once again attach voidable years onto Brady's contract to make his cap hit a bit more palatable. 

Patriots have still not reached out to Brady

Thursday, February 27: Hopes of a Brady reunion with the Patriots took a hit as Jeff Darlington of ESPN noted on Get Up! that he would be "stunned if Brady went back to New England." Darlington has long been reporting the unlikelihood that Brady re-signs and now is citing people "very close" to the quarterback, who is telling them that a reunion "is not going to happen." On top of Darlington's report, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald notes that the Patriots have still not reached out to Brady and one source noted, "it's not looking good."

Combine buzz: Three teams connected to Brady, including the Giants

Wednesday, February 26: In one of the most surprising reports (or rumors, or whatever you want to call the combine scuttlebutt), the Giants were one of three teams named as a top suitor for Brady should he leave the Patriots in free agency.

NFL Network's Michael Giardi, a former Patriots reporter, passed along an interesting nugget he gathered from league execs at the combine on Wednesday.

"The initial reaction has been, 'There's no way Tom Brady is leaving New England,'" Giardi tweeted from the Scouting Combine. "But as you dig deeper, execs/coaches/scouts see the TitansRaiders, and Giants as possible suitors."

As Cody Benjamin broke down, the breadcrumbs connecting Brady to the Giants date all the way back to January, and multiple reports prior to this one have connected the future Hall of Famer to New York. It can't hurt that new Giants head coach Joe Judge comes over to New York from New England.

Patriots to meet with Tom Brady's agent at NFL Scouting Combine  

Tuesday, February 25: According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Patriots are expected to meet with Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee, at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week. This is the time of year when agents start speaking with teams about their soon-to-be free agent clients, so this shouldn't come as too much of a shock. This should be a good spot, however, for both sides to at the very least begin the conversation about what it may take to keep Brady in Foxborough.  

Ninkovich believes potential Brady exit would hurt Pats in free agency

Thursday, February 20: Former Patriots linebacker turned ESPN NFL analyst Rob Ninkovich spoke with the Boston Herald about some of the impacts that a potential Brady departure could have on the organization. For years, New England has been able to attract free agents who are searching for a Super Bowl ring and sign them at a discounted rate. If Brady bolts, that could change, says Ninkovich. 

"It's an interesting dynamic," he told the Boston Herald. "Once Tom figures out what's happening, and if he's not a New England Patriot, do veterans, or other people in the past who say to themselves 'I'm going to the Patriots to win a Super Bowl,' still go?"

If Brady leaves, Ninkovich also believes it could impact a handful of other veteran free agents for the Patriots like Devin McCourty, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy possibly not sticking with the franchise. As for what Brady may do, Ninkovich said he wouldn't be surprised if Brady leaves to prove that he can win on his own.  

Brady won't give hints to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon 

Tuesday, February 18:  During an interview with ESPN's "Get Up," Academy Award winning actor and Boston-native Ben Affleck revealed that he and fellow Bostonian actor Matt Damon actually texted Brady to try and see what his free agency plans are. 

"Me and Matt texted him, 'What's the deal? You going or you staying?' And this is what we got back: An emoji," Affleck said, while mimicking a shrugging "I don't know" shoulder emoji. "So I really have no information for you."

Like most Patriots fans, Affleck admitted that he hopes and prays that Brady will remain in New England. 

No nationwide free agency tour for Tom Brady 

Monday, February 17: With only a month remaining until the start of free agency, NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran reports that it's unlikely that Brady will have a coast-to-coast free agent tour. Instead, Curran reports he's hearing that the quarterback will "try to set up meetings at one location instead of creating a circus." 

Curran also noted that the Patriots will not be super-vigilant when it comes to tampering as they're not worried about other team's financial pitches. Really, they are focusing on building a roster on the offensive side of the ball that would entice Brady to return to Foxborough for 2020 and possibly beyond. 

Raiders willing to go two years at $60 million?

Friday, February 14: According to Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a longtime NFL reporter, the Las Vegas Raiders are prepared to offer Brady a two-year deal worth $60 million. Of course, this report should be taken with a grain of salt as Fitzgerald Sr. isn't exactly known for breaking NFL news of this caliber. Still, the Raiders will be a team that will certainly try to catch Brady's ear when he hits the open market in mid-March. 

Vegas has been a team -- along with the Los Angeles Chargers -- that has most often been linked to Brady as a possible threat to pry him out of New England. The Raiders could clear $13.6 million off their cap by cutting current QB1 Derek Carr, so they do have some flexibility to go after Brady if he's willing to listen. That contract number floated out by Fitzgerald Sr. also jives with what has been rumored to be the magic number for Brady from an AAV standpoint. 

Robert Kraft doubles-down on feeling towards Brady's free agency 

Monday, February 10: Patriots owner Robert Kraft was attending Elton John's AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party and was asked once again what he hopes will be the outcome of Brady's free agency. To that, Kraft simply said, "You know what I want." 

Clearly, he's hoping that his six-time Super Bowl champion signal-caller to remain at the same post he's been in for the past 20 years. 

Julian Edelman begs Brady to return the Patriots

Tuesday, February 4: Patriots receiver, and longtime security blanket for Tom Brady, Julian Edelman took to social media to make his opinions clear regarding his quarterback's free agency and did so in a rather comedic fashion. Edelman posted a photo from the boombox scene from the movie "Say Anything" with the caption "Baby come back," while tagging Brady. 

Edelman, who is signed with the Patriots through the 2021 season, caught 100 balls in 2019 for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. 

Ominous social media post was just a Super Bowl ad

Sunday, February 2: The internet absolutely exploded with conspiracy theories earlier in the Super Bowl week when Brady posted a rather ominous, black and white photo of himself in the tunnel of Gillette Stadium. There was zero caption to give the post any context, so many theorized he could foreshadowing a departure from Foxborough or something of that nature.

In the end, the post wound up being a piece of a Hulu commercial that aired during Super Bowl LIV.  Brady jokingly teased retirement in the ad, but later said, "I'm not going anywhere." 

Raiders plan to pursue Brady in free agency 

Sunday, February 2: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Las Vegas Raiders will pursue Brady if he becomes a free agent when the new league year begins in mid-March. Of course, there's been plenty of speculation between Brady and the Raiders ever since the quarterback was spotted chatting with owner Mark Davis at a UFC event. 

Schefter also added that the Patriots and Brady will come to a decision on his future well before the start of free agency. 

Pats willing to pay $30 million a year to keep Brady

Sunday, February 2: According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the New England Patriots are intent on keeping Brady in Foxborough and are even willing to pay $30 million a season to do so. If this comes to fruition, this would be the highest the Patriots have paid Brady throughout the course of his NFL career. While the money would certainly be a selling point, putting weapons around Brady will reportedly be just as vital in the Patriots hopes to retain him. 

Bucs dubbed the "sleeping giant"

Thursday, January 30: During an appearance on WEEI's Dale and Keefe, NBC Sports' Peter King highlighted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a "sleeping giant" in the race to land Brady in free agency. He highlights the weapons Tampa has in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as key reasons why it could work among other attractive pieces. 

"Look, they have a pretty good offensive line and they've got two excellent receivers," King said in part. "They've got a really good young tight end, and they have a very imaginative head coach and offensive coordinator in the passing game. I can't tell you absolutely what they would do or what they are going to do, but I can tell you that they are fascinating to me because Bruce Arians isn't coaching forever. I think he is one of those guys that all quarterbacks say, 'Man, it would be cool to work for Bruce Arians' because he's such a fun offensive mind."

Of course, it would seem odd for Brady to move into a lower-tier market like Tampa Bay, but, if he's solely looking for a place to win a championship, this could be an intriguing option. 

Gronk: Brady deserves to hit free agency

Tuesday, January 28: Tom Brady's former teammate and retired tight end Rob Gronkowski was pretty candid in his remarks on the quarterback's future saying that he's earned the right to hit the market and field other offers from teams. While he has no direct knowledge of Brady's intentions, Gronk felt it's best for him to at least dip his toe in the free agent waters. 

"But I truly believe that he deserves the opportunity to go explore — to see what's out there. He's been playing for so long, and just the way that he's been playing — just the level he's been playing at — he definitely deserves an opportunity to go out there and test the market."

Joe Montana advises Brady to stay in New England

Monday, January 27: While speaking to NFL.com's Michael Silver, legendary quarterback Joe Montana, who famously left the 49ers late in his career for the Chiefs, was asked what his advice to Brady would be

"Don't -- if you don't have to," Montana said on Brady leaving the Patriots. "It's a process to go through, and it takes time to get used to the team. I was fortunate because (former 49ers quarterbacks coach) Paul Hackett was there running the offense, and so I was pretty familiar with probably three-quarters of the offense going in. And, if they let him have his own offense (with a new team), yeah, that makes it a little bit easier. But still, the transition of moving ...

"I just can't see how they would let him leave there, myself."

Derek Carr irked at speculation from Brady-Davis chat at UFC event

Thursday, January 23:  Las Vegas fans were abuzz when an image of Tom Brady chatting with owner Mark Davis at a UFC event surfaced, but current Raiders quarterback Derek Carr seemed a bit salty towards the narrative of ousting him for Brady. 

"I mean, there was a lot of quarterbacks at that fight," Carr told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "And there was a lot of football players at that fight that are free agents. And it's like, every time, with my job, it's always a story. No matter what. And knowing some people that were around, I even know what the conversation was [between Davis and Brady], and it's like, 'C'mon, man, when's it going to end?'"

Prepared to meet with other teams in free agency 

Sunday, January 19: According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Brady is preparing to discuss his future with teams beyond the Patriots: 

"It would be extremely surprising if Brady were to agree to any new pact with the Patriots prior to the start of free agency in March, I'm told, and while his process could still result in a return to New England it is far from certain at this point," writes La Canfora. "Brady intends to take a methodical approach to his first foray into free agency, as, at age 42, this will be the final contract of his playing career."

La Canfora added that Brady will simply look for whichever destination gives him the best chance to win a seventh Lombardi Trophy. Brady's passion to continue playing has not diminished, reports La Canfora, and still anticipates playing until age 45. His report also notes that Brady would be "eager to take on the role of mentor to a young quarterback, no matter where he plays, hoping to leave an organization in good shape when he retires. Part of his legacy, he believes, could be tied to seeing future generations embrace the TB12 training and lifestyle regimen that Brady strongly believes has helped him play so long at such a high level." 

Tom Brady and his family reportedly move out of Boston area 

Friday, January 17: Multiple reports came in that Brady and his family have moved out of the Boston area and are now staying in a new home in Greenwich, Connecticut. NBC Sports Boston's Gary Tanguay reported that Brady was "embarrassed" by his compensation compared to other quarterbacks in the league and is likely to depart the franchise. 

Brady's Brookline, Massachusetts home was still on the market at that time. 

Kraft hopes Brady either re-signs with Patriots or retires

Monday, January 6.: Patriots owner Robert Kraft opened up to NBC Sports' Peter King about Brady's pending free agency and admitted that he either hopes the quarterback stays in New England or walks away from the game entirely. Kraft also gave a window into Brady's thinking prior to the 2019 season, noting that it was important for him to hit free agency. 

"Before the season started, it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year," Kraft told King. "You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right. I love the young man like he's part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who's done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years."

Bill Belichick has no timetable for Brady decision

Sunday, January 5: Bill Belichick swiftly answered "No" when asked if there would be any sort of deadline imposed by the franchise for Brady to make a decision on his future. The Patriots head coach somewhat acknowledged the elephant in the room, but didn't comment much further. 

"I honestly, look, I know it's out there like there are a lot of other things out there," he said. "We could bring up 50 questions just like that one, and I told you what my state is on that. You can ask all 50 of them, and it's going to be the same answer 50 times. We've been working on Tennessee. It's 12 hours after the game. I'm not going to talk a lot of things about the future, because it's not — I'm not prepared to talk about them.

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