Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has dealt with critics his entire career despite the unprecedented success he's enjoyed, and those voices were quite loud during the 2019 season.
The Patriots finished the regular season with a 4-4 record over their last eight games, including an embarrassing Week 17 loss at home to the Miami Dolphins that prevented New England from earning a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs. Brady and the Pats ultimately lost to the Tennessee Titans at home in the AFC Wild Card Round.
It was a disappointing season for the Patriots, and Brady's less-than-stellar play resulted in lots of criticism over his allegedly declining skills. Brady stunned many people throughout out New England by deciding to leave the Patriots and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. The Buccaneers don't see Brady's arm declining at all, and they aren't concerned about his mobility, either.
“Well, the tape to us showed that (Brady) had plenty of arm,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Monday on ESPN's "Get Up!" morning show.
“In fact, we thought that he had the ideal arm for Bruce and his system. He can still throw it deep. We felt like the mobility was still the same as he’s always had, which he’s never been able to out-run anybody, but he’s certainly good in the pocket in terms of eluding pressure with his poise and his instincts. We did not see a decline in his arm talent whatsoever, and in fact, we feel like he could still play for over two years for us. Hopefully, that’s the case.”
Bucs GM Jason Licht said that in his first phone call with Tom Brady, Brady was actually the one giving THEM the sales pitch on why he should go to Tampa Bay. pic.twitter.com/o2LcUZas9k— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 30, 2020
Brady still tallied very respectable stats (4,057 yards, 24 TD, eight INT) in 2019 despite his age, and there's little evidence to suggest he won't be an effective quarterback over the duration of his two-year contract with the Bucs.
Even if Brady is no longer a top-five quarterback, he'll no doubt be an upgrade -- and likely a substantial one -- over Tampa Bay's previous QB, Jameis Winston.
Winston led the league in passing yards and ranked second in passing touchdowns last season, but he also led in interceptions by a wide margin. Thirteen of his 30 interceptions came in the fourth quarter or overtime, and this was a huge factor in the Buccaneers losing six games by a one-score margin. Brady has thrown 29 interceptions over the last four years combined, and his impressive decision-making with the football should be a tremendous boost for the Bucs' offense.