This morning, Tom Brady announced that he would not re-sign with the New England Patriots.
This came after a flurry of NFL moves yesterday that included star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins getting traded to the Cardinals for a bag of chips (the incompetence of the Houston Texans strikes again), Stefon Diggs getting shipped off to the Bills for a multitude of picks, including a first-rounder, and the 49ers trading defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts for a first-rounder. Just to name a few.
But what does this mean for the Bucs, or even Tampa Bay? Well, get those billboards up, start social media marketing, and start posting the pictures of Brady in a Bucs uniform that you took on Madden. Make it known that Tampa Bay wants the GOAT. Maybe it’ll work out.
As for the Bucs, break the bank. Throw money at the former Michigan Wolverine. He deserves it. He has six rings for God’s sake. Plus, two of the backup plans for the Bucs seem to have committed to other teams. Teddy Bridgewater signed with the Panthers today and Phillip Rivers has been connected with the Colts. A reunion with Jameis Winston isn’t out of the question (although after franchise-tagging Shaq Barrett, it makes things a little more complicated), and Cam Newton is on the trading block after the Panthers signed Bridgewater, but neither would be enough to take down the defending division champion New Orleans Saints. Brady is the goal.
So, what can the Bucs offer? Looking at the cap, the team had $60.082 million in cap space before re-signing Jason Pierre-Paul to a 2-year, $27 million deal. So that leaves them at about $46.5 million. Plus, they should set aside $7 million to pay their draft picks (according to Spotrac.com). That leaves $39.5 million.
Should that all go to Brady? If necessary, sure. If they set aside $7 million for their draft picks, then they can probably sign all seven of their draftees (instead of a seventh-round pick, they have two fourth-rounders, so the quality of those draftees is a little higher than usual) and fill in most of the roster holes they might have. But if they can get Brady for maybe $62 million over two years (for comparison, Drew Brees just re-signed with the Saints for two years at $50 million), then with the remaining $8.5 million the Bucs can try to re-sign Ndamukong Suh and maybe sign some other cheaper players for depth. Or they just re-sign Suh, and end up with a little breathing room for the season.
Again, the Bucs have a plethora of options.
The team could even consider cutting some of its higher-priced guys (cough, cough, Ryan Jensen at $10 million and Cameron Brate at $6 million) and replace them with guys from the draft. The center position has some decent guys, with Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz near the top of the list, and you can never go wrong with drafting an offensive lineman out of Wisconsin. LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry III (what an awesome name) is also an option, and neither are projected to go in the first round. As for replacing Brate, how about just including O.J. Howard more in the offense? He was a first-round draft pick. Use him like one. Or, if the Bucs are really going to miss having a tall white guy at tight end that badly, former Bengal Tyler Eifert is also a free agent.
So like I said, plenty of options. Brady just happens to be the best one.