Tampa Bay’s top objective for 2020? Getting Tom Brady to return in 2021

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The Buccaneers enter their bye week at a crossroads, possibly in more ways than one.

With three losses in four games, a 6-2 start has melted to 7-5. An NFC South championship won’t happen, and it’s fair to wonder whether they even get to the playoffs.

Based on their last four games — Vikings, at Falcons, at Lions, Falcons — an 11-5 record is possible if not probable, making the team’s first postseason appearance in 13 years more probable than possible.

The organization has a bigger objective than ending a streak that goes back to 2007. The Buccaneers ultimately want to be sure that quarterback Tom Brady chooses to return for 2021.

There’s been a growing sense in league circles in recent weeks that Buccaneers ownership views getting Brady back for a second season as a critical piece of their financial picture. The pandemic kept the Buccaneers from selling all tickets for the first time in a very long time. By next year, the public-health crisis likely will have subsided to the point that will allow the Bucs to open the floodgates again.

The question is whether Brady will be part of the team. Although he’s said nothing publicly to suggest he’s thinking about retiring or trying to play elsewhere in 2021, he said nothing publicly in 2019 about leaving New England, either. With dramatically reduced media access to practice and locker rooms, it’s much harder to get the kind of inside information that could shed light on his plans, and his camp hasn’t been leaking anything to the usual media suspects about whether Brady does or doesn’t fully intend to play in Tampa next year.

He’s technically under contract to the Bucs for next season, but nothing stops him from asking to be released. Brady also could easily retire until he’s released or traded for peanuts; since he received no signing bonus, he’d owe the team none of the $25 million he received in 2020.

At the heart of the question of whether Brady will want to return to Tampa is whether he’ll want to continue to be the pincushion for criticism, both overt and subtle, regarding the performance of the offense. Coach Bruce Arians routinely creates the impression that any and all offensive struggles trace to Brady, that he has full power to pick plays and that any failed decision are his, not the coaching staff’s.

After 12 straight weeks of playing games, the bye week gives all parties a chance to step back and to reassess, even if only for a bit. If ownership hasn’t use the brief pause in the action to make it clear to Arians that the goal is to get Brady back next year, perhaps ownership should. Then again, Arians is smart enough to realize what and who will make money next year for the franchise; fans who fill the stadium will be there not to see Arians coach but to see Brady play.

Ultimately, decisions could hinge on how things go over the final quarter of the season. Arians decided to move on from Jameis Winston after 2019 because he failed to step up when games mattered most. If the Buccaneers continue to stumble and underachieve, Arians may decide that Brady isn’t the answer, Brady may decide that Arians isn’t the answer, and ownership (which hasn’t been bashful about firing coaches) may decide that the best way to keep Brady around for 2021 will be to hire someone else to get more out of Brady.

53 responses to “Tampa Bay’s top objective for 2020? Getting Tom Brady to return in 2021

  1. Seems to me the Bucs would be better off with a different COACH than with a different QB. In fact they could also use a better OC as well. In fact, just letting Brady call the plays himself would be better than what they have there now….

  2. Seems an odd choice for a top objective for a team that was supposed to have Super Bowl aspirations

  3. If the season ends disappointingly in TB, there’s no way Brady leaves on that note and retires. Maybe they fix the main issue there before next year which is, primarily, getting Arians out of there and hiring a better coach that knows what to implement with the talent they have.. Belichick would have this team at least 9-3 (if not better) with no other changes.

  4. The bigger question is whether his arm will be back in 2021. His arm seems to be checking out at times in 2020. Badly missing open receivers. Etc.

  5. It’s going to take something like as mentioned above McDaniels coming in or Leftwich being elevated. Opinion only, Brady will retire (at least temporarily) unless something changes.

  6. Brady will be back but if the 49ers were to give up on Garappolo, which I dont think will happen, could create an interesting situation. Josh Daniels is still waiting for Belichick to retire but he wont till after he breaks Don Shula’s victory record …

  7. Even if they brought Josh McDaniels in the rest of the team and receiving corp would have to learn his system, something easier said than done in 1 year. Note how many veteran wideouts have gone to new england and struggled. The best option is Brady stop being such a team guy, put his foot down & take ownership of the offense.

  8. Arians seems to be an NFL version of old Oriole skipper Earl Weaver’s expression. “Pitching and three run homers”
    Arians likes the deep ball. Brady likes methodical long drives. It also keeps your defense rested. Anyone else remember Buddy Ryan corking Kevin Gilbribe?

  9. maybe they should do like basketball and let the star player pick the next head coach.

  10. Brady became the GOAT by taking what the defense gave him and being extremely careful with the ball. The Bruce Arians offensive approach is a boom/bust, throwing low percentage bomb after low percentage bomb. They are going to hit on many of these because they do have very skilled receivers and the GOAT. But good teams can take long completions away.
    I don’t think Brady or any QB for that matter can win consistently with meathead offense like this.

  11. iliketurtles says:
    December 5, 2020 at 12:11 pm
    Why? He’s awful now. Winston is just as reliable at this point


    Yeah, just look at all the numbers Winston is trusted to put up now. Zero.

    If “awful” is 2nd in yards and 4th in TDs at age 43 with a bank of knowledge Winston will never have in reading coverages and blitzes, then yes, he’s “awful”.

  12. I’m curious why so many commenters believe McDaniels will do better now than he did the last time he was a head coach. At best McDaniels would have 1 or 2 seasons with Brady. So is it more of a lease than a true head coaching job??

  13. Like that would make a lot of sense. Fire your coach and start over with another regime just to keep a player around for another year. If Brady wants to be a bawl bag and can’t take the criticism (something all players go through sometime during their careers) it’s time to move on.

  14. The Cowboys should have let Dak walk and signed Brady this year for less money. They should try again next year with their healthy OL and improved D. It’s a win win, save $40 million per year for 4-5 years with Dak and go nowhere or get a great transitional QB for a year or, maybe, 2 and have a chance to go somewhere in the playoffs and win a good spot in a weak NFC East division.

  15. Or you know, they could use the bye week to get better at playing football, and maybe start a winning streak that will give them real momentum heading into the weirdest playoffs of all time where there will be no real home field advantage. All this speculation about ownership’s financial interests and coaching changes is just wild given that the team is very much in the thick of the playoff hunt and likely will have their first playoff berth in 10 years.

  16. sameer1138 says:
    December 5, 2020 at 11:44 am
    The bigger question is whether his arm will be back in 2021. His arm seems to be checking out at times in 2020. Badly missing open receivers. Etc.

    41 15 Rate This


    Has 100% nothing to fo with his arm. Clearly, you know nothing about the sport.

    It’s the legs and processing speed that go first.

  17. 1. TOMPA BAY.


    3. TB x TB.

    Brady sure has been doing a lot of trademarking..

  18. It would seem that a different OC and Head Coach would certainly help Tom Brady. Peyton Manning got what he wanted from John Elway and Adam Gase in Denver. Moreover Denver had a very good defense when they went to the Super Bowl with the Peyton Manning created offense. Tampa Bay has not shown the ability to stop the better offensive teams. Tom Brady while with Belichick in New England had a ball control offense of shorter passes that set up the run and an occasional deep pass. The slot receivers Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Troy Brown, Deion Branch all controlled the time of possession for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Controlling time of possession is a great form of defense! Tampa should give Brady what worked for him offensively for many years. Tampa should also consider replacing both Coach Bruce Arians and his Offensive Coordinator if the team ownership is serious about Tom Brady returning in 2021.

  19. The problem isn’t the QB with the 2nd most yards and the 4th most TDs.

    The problem is the pass defense giving up the 5th most yards and the 2nd most TDs.

    Arians needs to grasp that slamming the positives because they aren’t fully overcoming the negatives is bad coaching.

  20. So the Bucs will continue to bet on a QB who’ll be 44 next year?

    It’s time for Brady to go to the fishing pond and for Tampa Bay to get a young gun.

  21. Judging by the way he can’t shake hands with the opposing QB when he loses, I’d say the pincushion role doesn’t suit him at all.

    If he thinks the opposing teams QB is lesser than him he doesn’t shake their hand.

    Look at all the tape you lapdogs before you shoot it down. The guy has no character. Which is also why he allows an egomaniac and law breaker to live with him.

  22. Brady HAS stated he’s staying in the Tampa Bay Area a while, maybe for good. It’s close to NY and Costa Rica. He bought a house in Clearwater. Bruce is already only half involved in the offense, and half-retired. The Bucs are letting Bruce go before Brady.

  23. So your saying to make a decision on who your starting QB is based on ticket sales?.. what could go wrong

  24. “By next year, the public-health crisis likely will have subsided to the point that will allow the Bucs to open the floodgates again.”

    Assumes facts not in evidence. The Spanish flu of a century ago lasted three years.

  25. Brady clearly picked and sold himself to Tampa Bay. He accepted a below market contract as he has done for years with New England. I think his pride would indicate his resigning with Tampa Bay would be more probable than not. Frosting on the cake would be losing the Souper bowl to….yes, Belichick and the New England Patriots.

  26. The galleon is floundering. Let’s see if “No Beard” goes down with the ship like a captain should.

  27. Its obvious the problem is Arians once again not coaching to his teams strengths. How many PROBOWL QBs like Luck, Big Ben and Winston ect have had their worst seasons under Bruce Almighty..TB12 is a rhythm QB and his strength is long drives with short to intermediate throws…not Bombs away Bruce Ball. Tom and him obviously dont like each other or mesh well. A 6 time Superbowl champ QB isnt leaving but, a arrogant tyrant for a coach is Expendable.

  28. When they go 11-5 and win a playoff game Arians will take all the credit when in fact it will be done in spite of him. He said that they don’t throw to tight ends. So Gronk is just a blocker. He doesn’t use motion or anything else Brady likes. Says Brady can’t read coverages when he is probably the best at it in the history of the game. Time for Mcdaniels.

  29. It’s clear the Brady – Arians match wasn’t made in heaven. Honestly, my opinion of Arians as a coach has declined – I don’t see him winning a championship, and I suspect Brady gets that vibe too.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady jumps ship and joins the Saints next year, assuming Brees retires.

  30. Old ba bought into the notion brady won 6 rings by himself and would bring him one now hes smelling the toast.

  31. Tom left a Patriots squad last year that had an elite defense but no offensive weapons whatsoever. He left and joined a Tampa squad with plenty of weapons but a mediocre defense. That’s a wash.

    San Francisco should’ve found a way to land Brady. That or he should’ve joined Vrabel’s Titans. Both clubs have great defenses and a very strong running game. Those were the best ways for him to get to another Super Bowl.

  32. ebpatton says:
    December 5, 2020 at 3:21 pm
    “By next year, the public-health crisis likely will have subsided to the point that will allow the Bucs to open the floodgates again.”
    Assumes facts not in evidence. The Spanish flu of a century ago lasted three years.

    You need to find your facts. There was NO vaccine for the Spanish Flu until long after the 1918 outbreak. It took until 1942 to create a viable vaccine…. We already have several viable vaccines for covid-19.

  33. Just let him run the offense, that is, dink and dunk and drop the occasional deep bombs. He and the Pats won six Super Bowls running the same offense for 20 years! Let him do what’s comfortable for him. He’s 43 for god sake!

  34. He hasn’t lost much zip on the ball. The big issue is the mismatch between Brady’s strengths which are picking apart defenses based on matchups and pre-snap reads and accuracy on short to medium routes and the Arians offensive philosophy which skews toward long-ball home-run play. Arians appears too stubborn to change his approach and hence Brady has forced it or made bad long throws. It’s never been his strength.
    McDaniels is staying in NE and taking over once Belichick retires in 2 years.
    Give Brady and TB any coach who implements an offense he is comfortable with and their offense will be borderline unstoppable.

  35. I’m sure the Saints and everyone else in the division would like the other members of the Bucs “over-the-hill gang” Gronk & Antonio Brown, return as well.

  36. I think BA is a great coach and tampa is lucky to have him. I dont think brady cares if BA says whatever about him. Brady isnt some premadonna that the media makes him out to be and yes he will return to tampa and BA will be back too.They need one more season together to get all of this mess straigtened out

  37. hinglemccringleberry says:
    December 5, 2020 at 12:15 pm
    He is 1000 percent going to try to go to SF 49ers
    Put that in the bank!!!
    I guess you think the Bucs won’t mind taking the $25 million in dead salary cap next season by letting Brady leave. They would then have to turn around and shell out money for another QB in a season where the cap goes down instead of up. Take that one to the bank.

  38. They would be better off getting a qb who can actually throw the ball more than 15 yards effectively. System qb.

  39. Bucs top objective should be to get a decent coach. Arians is awful. Good coaches make their teams better as the season progresses. The Bucs have no continuity. One week they are invincible; the next week they are trash.

    Stats show it. Over last four games, Bucs defense is ranked worst in the NFL in pass TDs allowed (12), passing yards allowed (1,236), completion percentage (76 percent) and opponent passer rating (114.6).

    Over the season, the defense is all over the place too: 7th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense, 1st in rushing, 22nd in passing, 9th in sack percentage, 16th on third down, 18th in red zone.

    Brady is not the problem on offense. They aren’t very good in rushing & therefore also not so good on third down conversions: 18th in total offense, 6th in scoring offense, 10th in passing, 27th in rushing, 2nd in sack percentage, 13th on third down, 6th in red zone

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