If the reports are true, then Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just jumped into a dysfunctional marriage. The reason for that is, neither party knows one another and neither party has fully taken the time to look at the bigger picture.
For the Bucs, this is about winning now. Last season, the Buccaneers finished the year 7-9 and missed the playoffs. While injuries were a big reason for that, the blame was thrown at the feet of QB Jameis Winston. Despite throwing for over 5000 yards and tossing 30 touchdowns, his job was never safe.
With Brady onboard, the Bucs will shoot up the ladder in the NFC. But is that really deserved? Brady will be 43-years old by the start of the 2020 NFL season. While he’s considered a vet and arguably the greatest QB of All-Time, no one has outrun Father Time. Can Brady be the first?
That’s what the Tama Bay Buccaneers are hoping for. So much so, that they give him a 2-year deal. Paying Brady $30M per is not bad but why do that when Winston has not even hit his prime yet?
What were the reasons for letting a young arm go for a veteran who has lost some zip on his passes? It’s all about selling tickets and having a “big name” tied to the franchise. But in the end, it will cost the Buccanneers more than they can imagine.
In 2019, Winston was indeed a turnover machine. But was it all on him? With Mike Evans out and the ground game shaky, Winston had no choice but to air it out. He attempted 626 passes while completing 60.7 percent. That’s an awful large amount of passes, and yet, that’s what the offense called for.
Winston has caught heat for being a member of the “30-30 Club” but what was he supposed to do.? He understood that he needed to change during the offseason and got laser surgery on his eyes. He was taking the necessary steps. But once again, what was he supposed to do?
Now the Buccaneers are tying their hopes to a great player but one who now has to learn a new offense, create chemistry with a set of new receivers and running backs, and do so in a new city. Then there are the expectations.
Brady is not scared of expectations as he has six Super Bowl rings to show off. However, he was brought there to win. If the Bucs make the playoffs with Brady at the helm, is that really a win for the club? No, it’s championship or bust. If making the playoffs was endgame, then give Winston another shot with a healthy team and let the chips fall where they may.
The Tampa Bay Buccaess let a 24-year old QB coming off his best season walk out the door for a player who may give them two seasons. But then what? What happens when Father Time catches up to Brady? The Bucs are hoping they can get another good QB in the draft or even free agency but that’s a roll of the dice.
The NFC South is not as strong as it once was. The New Orleans Saints are also betting their eggs on a 40-year old player in Drew Brees with no clear indication for the future. The Carolina Panthers let their franchise QB Cam Newton go and the Atlanta Falcons are still praying Matt Ryan can turn it around.
Winning the division is not a guarantee and with all the moves being made this offseason, other teams have improved just as much as the Bucs.
What’s in this for Tom Brady?
If he wins, then he’s the greatest hands down and it will prove that he was the true mastermind behind the Pats’ dynasty. But if he loses, then some of that shine may come off his armor. It’s not fair but it’s the way sports are made up. Some may argue that he has nothing to lose but in a sense he does. His entire career has been in New England and now, he has moved on to a team in search of direction and identity.
Jameis Winston put in work last season. Those interceptions were more of refections of the personnel around him than on his arm and football IQ. Brady will not make the same mistakes that Winston did but can the Bucs give Brady everything he needs?
What if Evans goes down again? What happens if the ground game finishes 24th as it did in 2019? Then there is the issue with the offensive line. Throwing off the back foot is one thing but a line surrendering 47 sacks on the year, this is not what Brady signed up for.
On paper, it looks good. But in the long run, this will come back to haunt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are young and if not for some bad-timed injuries, there’s no telling where they could be. They had a chance to run it back and continue their rebuild but the lure of a single name may have cost them that.
The names on the back should never be bigger than the one you’re representing. The New England Patriots knew this, somehow, the Bucs never got that memo.