Will Tom Brady re-sign with the Buccaneers for cap purposes?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Tom Brady is gone from Tampa Bay. He leaves behind a championship legacy — along with a $35.1 million cap charge for 2023.

That’s not money the Bucs owe Brady. It’s cash the Buccaneers previously have paid, using the available devices to kick the can into future years.

As to Brady’s deal, the chickens are now coming home to roost. And the Bucs are screwed.

Yes, they got what they wanted and needed from Brady. A Super Bowl championship. Two years of maximum asses in the seats (the first season included no fans, due to the pandemic). Jerseys and other merchandise sales.

But now, as they sit at a projected $55 million over the cap, the Bucs need one last favor from Brady. They need him to sign a contract for 2023, for the minimum salary of $1.1165 million. And then they need to process his retirement after June 1.

Such a contract would reduce Brady’s cap charge to $11.941 million for 2023. Retirement after June 1 would result in $10.776 million in dead money for 2023, and it would push $24.328 million in dead money to 2024.

For Brady, this would keep him from joining another team, if he changes his mind about playing. Even though he may believe right now that he’ll never play again, he could change his mind.

Signing a new contract would make it much harder. For starters, he’d be under contract with the Bucs until they put him on the reserve-retired list in June. After that, he’d remain on the reserve-retired list until the Buccaneers release or trade his rights.

After the trade deadline, Brady would have to pass through waivers after being released from the reserve-retired list.

So it’s in Brady’s best interests to become a free agent. That would give him the flexibility to do whatever he wants, with no complications or limitations. But it’s in the team’s best interests for Brady to commit to the Bucs, on paper.

If Brady will be doing the Bucs a contractual favor, it needs to happen before his current contract voids in mid-March. If he goes through with it, that will be the clearest indication he truly has no interest in joining another team.

That said, he also could re-sign in Tampa with an express understanding that, if he decides to play again, the Bucs will immediately release his rights. But, again, it would have to happen before the trade deadline, in order to avoid passing through waivers.

Yes, Brady says he’s done for good. But human beings change their minds. Who knows how he’ll feel in July or August or September? He probably doesn’t even know.

25 responses to “Will Tom Brady re-sign with the Buccaneers for cap purposes?

  1. I’m guess Tom Brady won’t be the first QB in NFL history to draw social security.

  2. Somehow i feel like Brady wont do this. Bucs made their bed now they have to lie in it, sorry, thats the risk with signing a 40+ yr old QB. Now with Arians gone and Bowles at the helm its going to be a rapid descent back to normal TB status: mediocre to poor.

  3. Have the Bucs include a signed petition to the NFL that they demand necessary improvements to the rulebook and the sport, and that sounds like a deal.

  4. Dang, this will be interesting to see if does this. If he doesn’t I can already hear the curse words spewing from Tampa…

  5. I liked the clarity about how this works from a contract/cap related side, thanks for the info.

  6. Why should he? I don’t recall any other player doing this to help out his former team. They got a Superbowl championship out of it – let them deal with the aftermath.

  7. Brady isn’t interested in helping the Bucs. They made their bed, and now they gotta sleep in it, that’s how he’s gonna approach it. He doesn’t owe them anything, and judging by the way he treated his last year in Tampa he had already checked out

  8. Do it then trade the contract to the Lions. This way they can three retired GOATs with no links to the team!

  9. He’d laugh at them for even proposing it. And I wouldn’t blame him. This so isn’t his problem.

  10. I don’t see Brady going along with this. Brady himself knows that he could change his mind again if the right situation presented itself. I have my doubts about the “for good” part of his little retirement video.

  11. As 12 has always been a team player, I think the signs to help reduce the cap hit and sure make a side deal just to cover all the bases should he want to come back due to injuries on a desired team … but also too no foul or haters howl if he does this and stays retired .. just go back n sign a one day thingy with Kraft specially if they are having a good year and wave one more time at the crowd until the number gits retired and its gold jacket day.

  12. Mike, what if Brady insisted on scheduling a massive roster bonus due on June 2 to go along with that league minimum base salary? Something along the lines of $40M or so? As a practical matter, that would give the Bucs the salary cap relief they need and give Brady the freedom he wants by forcing the Bucs to release him on June 1.

  13. He’s done man. Brady doesn’t want to get hit anymore. We don’t need to worry about him getting an itch this year. The tape says it all he’s not standing in there confident anymore.

  14. I always thought the pushing of Brady’s salary down the road would cause it to come due at some time. I guess it turned out to be the Bucs and not the Pats and it happened at his retirement.

  15. If I recall correctly, he agreed to the third year to help out the Bucs and he regretted it because it meant he didn’t have the freedom to do whatever he wanted for 2022. With that memory, there’s no way he’ll agree to sign again.

  16. It’s not new. Brees did this in New Orleans last year. There is no bad blood between The Bucs & Tom. If he knows he’s truly retiring I think he does it. If he isn’t done he might not.

  17. I am not sure he would be ok with it. Like others have said, maybe if it gives him some freedom if he chooses to change his mind. Let’s just say the 49ers made it to the SB and all there QB was banged up, would Brady have thought about coming in and helping a team??

  18. I can see Brady agreeing to this only if the Bucs contractually agree to release him if it is not against the collective barginning agreement or a hand shake wink wink deal to release him. He gets paid a free $1.116M just to sign his name with the ability to be freed from the contract. Either which way Bucs will still take the cap hit. It works the same if it was a June 1st cut.

  19. Kraft wants him to sign a 1-day contract to retire as a Patriot. If he can sign a 1-day contract, why can’t he sign a 4-month contract with the Bucs to push his cap into the next league year?

  20. It would appear that Tom Brady has finished his NFL career as a quarterback. And this time, it is a certainty that it is over. What differs from last year is:
    Brady is a free agent.
    There is a sweet $375 million contract with Fox Sports that likely begins to take effect on Super Bowl Weekend. I could see him also appear at the NFL Honors.
    Tom Brady has in the past year re-appeared in a New England Patriots uniform as part of 80 for Brady and attended Robert Kraft’s wedding. Thus, he is more willing to consider himself a Patriot.
    The retirement announcement came from his own Twitter and Instagram accounts, seemed very genuine and did not specify any specific teams.
    Brady could go Hollywood if he so chooses.
    There have been discussions of a one-day contract with New England.
    The results of the last season were subpar, though I will say it was the best it could be.
    In some ways, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen divorcing have freed up some baggage and could lead to numerous opportunities.
    The pay from Fox Sports in 10 years will be more than the base salary as an NFL player for 23 years.
    Any chance of a Tom Brady-Sean Payton union ended when Payton signed to coach the Denver Broncos and join forces with Russell Wilson.
    Numerous plans are being made to honor Brady at Gillette Stadium in the near future.
    Perhaps most importantly, the San Francisco 49ers (read: Kyle Shanahan) once again rejected Tom Brady’s services as a starting quarterback. I also think like all of us, he was watching the NFC Championship Game and felt concerned about signing with a team whose 4 (!) quarterbacks got injured.

    I agree with Mike Florio here. As of now, Tom Brady leaves the game a free agent, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needing to live with their decisions. Had this happened one year ago, Brady likely would have finished his career as either a 49er or Dolphin or a Patriot and maybe even would have gotten his 8th ring. Clearly, Tom Brady may like Florida; but he sure as heck thinks differently about the Glazers these days. No hard feelings, yet with the same reservations Manchester United fans have on the Glazers. We shall see what happens; though it is reasonable to say that Tom Brady has finished his NFL playing career and is ready to jump right into the next chapter. It did not feel this way exactly one year ago; it feels this way now.


  21. If Brady wants to do this favor for the Bucs then I think they would have to be contractually obligated to fully release him upon request in June. Otherwise, no reason to do it for them. He has what he wants already. Why put himself in a compromised position?

  22. Carter says:
    February 2, 2023 at 5:41 pm
    I can see Brady agreeing to this only if the Bucs contractually agree to release him if it is not against the collective barginning agreement or a hand shake wink wink deal to release him. He gets paid a free $1.116M just to sign his name with the ability to be freed from the contract. Either which way Bucs will still take the cap hit. It works the same if it was a June 1st cut.

    I agree, but I don’t think I would take a handshake deal. Screw that. Risking trading his rights if Tampa reneges for 1 million doesn’t make sense. I think it would have to be in the contract, and I agree that a release grant might not be something they can include in the contract.

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