TAMPA- If you want to get away from the realities of the COVID-19 virus for just a little bit, there was some major news in the National Football League that jolted the Tampa Bay area.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady will be signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with details to the contract not yet disclosed. It’s believed by insiders around the NFL that Brady will make upwards around $30-million per season, with the contract likely spanning multiple years.
With Brady’s inevitable signing with the Buccaneers, it means the end of the five-year tenure for former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2015. Coming out of Florida State, Winston was dubbed as a can’t miss prospect out of Tallahassee and looked to become the first quarterback to sign a second contract with the franchise.
Instead, Winston currently remains a free agent but reportedly has had interest from the Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Redskins, and Chicago Bears. The New England Patriots become another team that could enter the mix in trying to sign Winston, who threw for 33 touchdowns and just over 5,000 yards in 2019. Winston’s issues came in the turnover department, as he had 30 interceptions and became the charter member of the 30-touchdown, 30-interception club.
Tampa Bay, coming off a 7-9 season, looked to make a splash in free agency as head coach Bruce Arians spoke many times about looking behind door No. 2 when it came time to free agency. What likely pushed the envelope when it came to testing what was out in the free-agent market was Winston’s performances against the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons in the final two games. Winston threw five interceptions, including a season-ending pick-six versus the Falcons.
In what left a really bad taste in the mouth of Arians and the team, the franchise’s tone changed from going all-in for Winston to looking elsewhere. Brady, a 6-time Super Bowl champion, was entering free agency as the prized quarterback that many teams were looking to snag. Amongst other clubs that were interested were the Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Miami Dolphins. All were looking to attract Brady but in the end, did not have exactly everything he was looking for.
Brady’s 2019 season with the Patriots ended in a 20-13 AFC Wild-Card Round loss to the Tennessee Titans, with his last pass in New England coincidentally being also a pick-six. Super Bowl LIII was the last time Brady guided the Patriots to a championship, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. Now Brady will look to pick up his 7th Super Bowl ring and this time do it in a Buccaneers’ uniform. Tampa is slated to be the host city for Super Bowl LV.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.