The morning of the Buccaneers’ Divisional Round game against the Los Angeles Rams began with a report about their quarterback Tom Brady and how is isn’t sure whether or not he will play in the 2022 season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped the news early Sunday to now widespread speculation that today, if the Bucs lose, could be the last time we see Brady in an NFL game.
Schefter said that according to his sources, Brady very well could play but that he is going to take time after the season to assess some things before making a firm commitment;
“Although Brady could decide to play again — he has talked about playing until he was 45, and even beyond — it is currently far from a given, sources told ESPN. Brady’s departure is a topic that quietly has come up within the Tampa Bay organization for weeks now, and there has been internal uncertainty about what the future holds for the seven-time Super Bowl champion and all-time NFL passing leader.
Brady, 44, plans to take time after the season ends — a month or longer — to assess how he feels physically and mentally while also gauging his family’s desires, sources told ESPN.”
Now, obviously this is something that is speculated on every year and has been for the better part of the last decade, but with every season Brady inevitably gets closer to the time he finally does hang it up for good. Something to keep in mind, however, is the impact Brady’s retirement - should it happen after this season - has on the Bucs beyond the field. The dead cap hit the Bucs would take if Brady walks away is nothing short of substantial;
If Brady retires, his contract calls for him to repay $16 million. Would still count $24 million against the 2022 cap unless they work to defer some of that down the road. https://t.co/fddhz9gnYy— Greg Auman (@gregauman) January 22, 2022
That means the Bucs, who already have some major free agents they need to re-sign including Chris Godwin, would have very little cap space and $24-million in dead money to address their free agents as well as find a quarterback.
It’s worth noting that before Brady worked out his extension to free up money for the Bucs during the last off-season that he was committed to playing in 2022. However, those situations are always fluid and he may be reaching a point where he’s decided he’s proved all he wants to and it’s time to dedicate time to his family.
This is something everyone will keep an eye on moving forward but for now it’s safe to say the only thing Brady is focused on is playing against the Los Angeles Rams and hosting the NFC Championship next week.