The NFL’s free agency season crescendoed Tuesday with the announcement that Tom Brady is taking his talents to Florida. It’s the craziest thing since, well, it barely registers on the crazy scale these days.
After a twenty-year stint with the New England Patriots, during which he won more Super Bowls than any player in league history, Tom Brady has signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There will no doubt be Pats fans angry with Brady, dismiss him as a traitor or a greedy bum, but they are wrong to do so. Brady gave that franchise everything he had for 20 years, often for a below-market salary, and treated the fans to arguably the greatest dynasty in the sport’s history.
This offseason, Brady and the team reached a crossroads. He wanted F.U. money, despite him seemingly slipping from the ranks of elite QBs. The Patriots weren’t convinced that at 43, Brady could still do Brady things. Either party could’ve given in, but they decided not to. Bill Belichick is of the mindset that it’s better to say goodbye to a player a year too early, rather than a year too late, and frankly, if you want to argue football strategy with the only man in the universe to win eight Super Bowl rings, you do so at your own peril.
But this is hardly the only QB melodrama this spring. With Brady in Tampa, Jameis Winston needs to find work, which shouldn’t be too hard, given that he led the league in passing yards last season. Of course, he also led the league in interceptions,
Philip Rivers ended his sixteen-year marriage with the Chargers to shack up with the Indianapolis Colts for one year at $25 million. He’ll fill the void that was created by the early retirement of Andrew Luck, a hole that was temporarily filled by Jacoby Brissett this past year.
Who knows what’s going with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers? It’s a classic game of he said he said/he said he didn’t say, with the Panthers claiming Newton asked for a trade, and Cam saying he never said that. Regardless, the Panthers called Cam’s bluff and signed Teddy Bridgewater for a reported $60 million over 3 years. It’s great to see Bridgewater get another chance after losing the starting job in Minnesota in 2017 to a torn ACL and then going 5-0 last season as a fill-in for Drew Brees. On the flip side, it’s a shame things are ending this way for Cam and the Panthers. For a while there, he was one of the most exciting players in the game.
Marcus Mariota got benched during Week 6 last season by the Tennessee Titans in favor of Ryan Tannehill, who took over a team that was 2-4 and went 7-3 en route to winning Comeback Player of the Year. It’s hard to argue with the Titans’ decision to re-up Tannehill for four-year and $118 million. This left Mariota temporary homeless, but now he’s headed for the Vegas Strip, where he’ll line up under center for the Raiders.
The NFL is positioned to be the league least affected by what’s going on as sports came to a halt last week. We never imagined saying this in March but right now the NFL has the most going on right now. To bring us back to any semblance of normalcy in sports, ESPN and NFL Network have ongoing coverage of the NFL Free Agency period. Throughout the day, tune into extended news and analysis on ESPN with SportsCenter, First Take, Get Up!, Golic NFL Live and SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. On NFL Network watch Good Morning Football, NFL Free Agency Frenzy, NFL Now, NFL Total Access and more to help fill some of that void. Stay tuned for more information about what sports you can watch during this time.