The Pewter Report Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs.
This week’s topic: How Many More Seasons Will Bucs QB Brady Play?
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Scott Reynolds: The Bucs Need To Keep The Veteran QB Pipeline Flowing
The quick, easy answer is two more seasons for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. He’ll be 45 during the 2022 season and I think that will be his final year in the NFL. But I’m more concerned about the succession plan that general manager Jason Licht comes up with to help carry the Bucs into the future at the quarterback position. There was a big reason why Tampa Bay went missing from the playoffs between 2008-2019 – quarterback play.
Former Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Jeff Garcia was on his last leg at age 38 during the 2008 season, and the combination of Byron Leftwich and rookie Josh Freeman, the team’s first-round pick in 2009, only produced three wins the next year as Raheem Morris replaced Jon Gruden as the team’s head coach. Freeman gave way to Mike Glennon in 2013, who gave way to Josh McCown in 2014, who gave way to Jameis Winston in 2015 with a few games of Fitzmagic sprinkled in from Ryan Fitzpatrick. While McCown and Fitzpatrick weren’t the free agent solutions at the QB position that Brady is, I’m a big believer in finding another free agent quarterback to ultimately replace Brady when the time comes.
I’m not sure if Bruce Arians will still be coaching in 2023 after Brady departs, as his contract will be up, too. But Arians had success in Arizona in 2013 with a veteran reclamation project like Carson Palmer, much like Gruden had in Tampa Bay with Brad Johnson in 2002, Brian Griese in 2005 and Garcia in 2007, which were the last three times the Bucs have won the NFC South division. After seeing Tampa Bay waste five years with Freeman at the helm from 2009-13 and Winston under center from 2015-19 I’m done with finding saviors at the quarterback position through the draft. For every Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson there are many more guys like Josh Rosen, Brandon Weeden, Blake Bortles, E.J. Manuel, Christian Ponder, Paxton Lynch, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Jake Locker … well, you get the point. Whether it’s Arians or somebody else in 2023 – have a veteran replace Brady. Heck, I’d even take a 33-year old Blaine Gabbert over another rookie QB in Tampa Bay.
Mark Cook: Two More And He Walks Away With At Least One More Ring
With Tom Brady anything is possible. He is a freak of nature and hasn’t really shown any signs of slowing down. Brady could conceivably play another three or four years if he stays relatively healthy. But he might end up divorced if he plays more than the next two seasons. Gisele Bündchen asked him immediately after the Super Bowl, “What do you have left to prove?”. It’s a valid question that Brady will attempt to answer the next two seasons.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
I would have said 2021 would be his last season a week ago, but after his new extension and the way the contract is structured, if he were to walk after the 2021 season, the Bucs would have to absorb a huge cap hit and Brady isn’t likely to stick the franchise with that type of problem that would put them in a Matt Ryan/Falcons type hole.
With that said, my money is on two seasons and then he finally hangs up his magical, fountain of youth cleats. In the next two years I see Brady walking off into the Gulf of Mexico sunset with eight rings solidifying his place as the greatest quarterback ever – not that there is much of a question now. Not only will Brady be the best ever in NFL history, but he joins the legendary status club of professional athletes like Micky Mantle, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Enjoy these next two seasons, Bucs fans. We are witnessing history and something we can tell our grandchildren about one day.
Jon Ledyard: Two More Years Seems Like The Sweet Spot For Brady
How long Brady plays is truly anyone’s guess, but I think two more seasons seems like the sweet spot. That would allow Brady to retire after his age-45 season, with three strong runs with the Bucs in the books. Clearly his physical ability has somehow not declined after 21 seasons, so at this point anticipating a sudden drop-off in play seems like a waste of time.
The tricky part will be how the Bucs handle the eventual retirement of Brady, choosing between going all-in over the next few seasons or if they opt to look for their future starter in the draft before the winningest quarterback in NFL history hangs it up. The Bucs roster looks like it’ll be good for awhile, so drafting high enough to easily land their next franchise quarterback seems unlikely without a trade-up. That means that stockpiling future draft resources, even in the 2021 draft if possible, is something the team should be strongly considering.
Of course, the Bucs could always opt for another veteran after Brady, rather than plugging in a rookie on a roster that will be laden with veteran talent at that point in time. Aaron Rodgers’ name has been thrown around by Bucs fans half-jokingly, but he’ll be entering the last year of his contract after the 2021 and 2022 seasons, with the Packers potentially still waiting to hand the reins to Jordan Love, who would be entering his fourth year in the league. 2023 is a long way off, but if I’m betting now, that’s the year that Brady finally calls it quits and Rodgers is likely looking for a new home…which just might be in Tampa Bay.
Matt Matera: Three More Seasons For Brady Wouldn’t Be Shocking
They say father time is undefeated, but Tom Brady is going toe to toe with him. I think it gets overlooked that he continues to play at such a high level at the stunning age of 43. Say what you want about the TB12 method, but it gets results and it’s allowed Brady to play this long. There’s a reason that Mike Evans mentioned he used it when rehabbing his knee injury, as it got him ready to perform in the postseason after injuring it in Week 17. Even Bruce Arians said that his family uses it.
It might sound wild, but I feel like even after winning a Super Bowl with the Bucs, Brady feels that the offense still hasn’t reached the ultimate highest capability they can go to as a great offense in the game of football. It’s almost absurd to say out loud because he threw for 40 touchdowns and 4,633 yards, which were the second and third highest totals in his entire career.
At the end of the day, if you keep winning Super Bowls, why would you stop? Brady has one with the Bucs and no one would be surprised if he wins a second and potentially a third. You see the posts on social media, as soon as he won Super Bowl number seven, not long after he’s talking about winning an eighth. He’s just built differently than others. He’ll always have that chip on his shoulder from getting overlooked in the draft, but it’s driven him to win all of these championships and become the greatest of all time. I think Brady plays another three seasons, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he played more. We’ll obviously see him in the Hall Of Fame and a Ring Of Honor induction will come too.
Taylor Jenkins: Brady Has Two More Seasons In Him… At Least
Tom Brady has often made the argument that he wants to play until he hits 45-years-old, and while people have argued that time will eventually catch up with the seven-time Super Bowl champion, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down after 4,633 passing yards and 40 touchdowns en route to yet another Lombardi Trophy and yet another Super Bowl MVP award at age 43.
With his most recent extension Brady is now under contract with Tampa Bay through at least the 2022 season which would take him right to that benchmark of 45. And while the Bucs can’t possibly expect to keep this core together forever, they’ve got a few really young position groups with a championship-caliber roster still going strong into the 2021 season and they’re ready to immediately jump right back into the Super Bowl conversation. With that being the case, I fully expect Brady to play out his extension with Tampa Bay at minimum.
Maybe there will be a day in the next couple of years where that rapid decline in his play comes and time eventually catches up with Brady, as we’ve seen with quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, but we’ve been waiting on that to happen for seven or eight years now. Maybe – knock on wood – it’ll be an unforeseen injury that eventually forces him into retirement. But what has become painfully obvious is that we’re watching an ageless wonder, so to speak. Brady is not only playing at an incredibly high level in general, he’s doing it well into his forties! In fact, Brady has racked up a career’s worth of accomplishments with three Super Bowl appearances, two championships and two Super Bowl MVPs since turning 40. So while I believe Brady will play his next two years under contract with the Bucs, I wouldn’t rule out him playing past that. The real question will then become whether those future seasons come in a red and pewter or whether the Bucs ultimately decide to move on from the then 45-year-old legend.