He was expected to be a highly sought-after free agent when the offseason began in March, even at 46. But Tom Brady is truly done with his playing career and announced Tuesday that he is retiring from the NFL for good.
That has not only left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needing a quarterback for next season and beyond, but other teams were expected to look for Brady in free agency.
In their 23rd NFL season, the Bucs barely made the playoffs and didn’t do very well against the Dallas Cowboys in the wild card round. But Brady was still putting up big numbers with 4,694 yards on a league-leading 490 completions with 25 touchdowns to nine interceptions.
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But now that will be remembered as his last NFL season, and all teams looking to sign him will need to consider their other options.
The Bucs only have Kyle Trask on their roster for next season, so they’ll need to make an effort in free agency or the NFL Draft.
What about the other teams? Let’s start with a team that had four quarterbacks under center in 2022…
san francisco 49ers
There was Trey Lance to start, Jimmy Garoppolo to replace him, Brock Purdy surprised everyone with his level of play, but he got hurt in the NFC Championship Game, prompting journeyman Josh Johnson to try to take over before suffering an injury. concussion.
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Yes, that’s a lot for head coach Kyle Shanahan and the Niners to handle, but he put them in the bottom four teams at the end of the day.
But Shanahan is sick of making it and not getting that elusive Super Bowl. Brady could have been the necessary quarterback along with his Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle guns.
Looking ahead to the offseason now, Shanahan admitted he doesn’t think Garoppolo will return after signing a one-year deal to be Lance’s backup. And while Lance is on the list, so is Purdy, who dazzled and has a chance to start next season.
That is if he doesn’t need Tommy John surgery to repair the UCL that he ruptured against the Philadelphia Eagles. He is reportedly seeking second opinions to see if there is another option.
In terms of signing someone, the 49ers and general manager John Lynch have about $16.4 million to spend on the salary cap.
las vegas raiders
It’s a team that reportedly wanted to bring Brady in before he ended up going to the Bucs in 2020, and considering his longtime friend and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was head coach, there was speculation that he could reunite in Sin City.
Now, McDaniels and the Raiders will look back at the free agent market to find someone to fit in with Brady and Derek Carr gone.
Las Vegas still needs to figure out Carr’s situation because while he was delisted for next season, he still hasn’t been released. They might be looking to trade because if they don’t, the Raiders will have $29.25 million in dead cap space.
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Either way, Jarrett Stidham and Chase Garbers are the only quarterbacks on the roster. But the Raiders have the No. 7 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and many are speculating that Kentucky’s Will Levis could be the play here. He may be working on a trade for a higher pick, so Bryce Young and CJ Stroud are up for grabs; both are expected to be top five picks.
Having Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow on offense could send the Raiders down the path of another free-agent quarterback to immediate success. However, they might view those talents as perfect options for a rookie quarterback to thrive in his first year.
I know what you’re thinking: What about Tua Tagovailoa? Well, the Dolphins, like the Raiders, also loved Brady very much. But, with head coach Mike McDaniel coming in and making the most of Tagovailoa (concussion to him this season notwithstanding), Miami doesn’t seem to be suffering like other teams for a quarterback right now.
Tagovailoa’s status for the upcoming season was confirmed by his parents, who said he will be there on the first day of camp despite suffering three concussions in 2022. Some believed he should retire to prevent further damage to his brain.
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One of the NFL’s free-agent quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater, played with the Dolphins last season as Tagovailoa’s backup. Given his injury history, he could return.
New England Patriots
There has been speculation about the reunion of all reunions since Brady was set to be a free agent in 2023. Going back to where it all began with Bill Belichick would certainly have been captivating to watch, but unfortunately, that’s not in the cards.
Brady won six of his seven Super Bowl rings in Foxborough, but they have options there with Mac Jones the best now after being selected 15th overall in the 2021 Draft. sophomore in 2022, working to a 6-8 record with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. But the Patriots loved that he made the playoffs in his rookie year with a 10-7 record, 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Bailey Zappe, the Patriots’ fourth-rounder who filled in for Jones when he was injured, also did well in his four games, which should make for some competition stories in training camp. He won both of his starts in place of Jones.
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You never really know what Belichick has up his sleeve, and after missing the playoffs, he’ll do whatever it takes to get back. But the Pats already have inside options that will likely stay in place.