According to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady has made no decision about playing in 2022. The 21-year veteran has dominated quarterback play in the NFL for over two decades. It’s been assumed Brady would at least play out his contract in Tampa Bay, which runs through the 2022 season. But the two most prominent NFL reporters say nothing has been decided.
Brady leads the NFL in almost every passing category, a testament to his incredible play this season. But the 44-year old could still consider walking away, per Schefter and Darlington.
Sources tell ESPN that Brady is happy in Tampa, while team sources added the marriage couldn’t be going any better from the Bucs’ perspective. Tampa Bay’s coaches and executives are unanimous in their desire to keep moving forward with Brady beyond this season, something they plan to convey to him in emphatic fashion when the season is over.
The Bucs organization would be willing to bend over backward to entice Brady to continue playing, if that’s what he ultimately decides to do.
At times throughout this season, Brady has felt committed to returning in 2022 regardless of the outcome, simply because he feels like he owes it to an organization that doesn’t have a clear quarterback succession plan, sources said. But with a long 2021-22 season nearing its conclusion, Brady now plans to enter the offseason wide open about his future.
Rapoport’s report mostly confirmed ESPN’s, with one important clarification.
Another source close to him said simply, Brady hasn’t considered his future because he’s only thinking about how to win today vs. the Rams in the Divisional Round.
2022 Could Be Final Ride For Bucs QB Brady
Previously, Brady has said he would like to play until he’s 45 years old. He’ll turn 45 in August, shortly after training camp opens.
Bucs QB Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I felt like then that was a great goal to set,” Brady told Willie McGinest a week ago. “I still have that goal of wanting to get to 45. We’ll see how it goes. I think I’m pretty much in [uncharted] territory.”
If Brady did retire, it would be a surprise to some of his teammates and coaches. When asked about if he’d be shocked if Brady walked away, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich laughed.
“Tom is playing at a high level,” Leftwich said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Last week, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the Tampa Bay Times Rick Stroud that he expects Brady to return for 2022.
“The way he was at practice, I would be shocked if he didn’t (return),” Arians said. “You know they have that Friday quarterback challenge. He came flying out of the locker room, sprinting two or three fields away. Couldn’t wait to get into the challenge. He was like a little kid. I would be shocked.”
The Bucs host the Rams on Sunday in the divisional playoffs
. Could that be the last time we see Brady on an NFL field? The smart money still says he’ll play one more year, on a Bucs team that should be very good again. But Brady is in unprecedented territory. All we can do at this point is wait and see.