After deciding to leave the Patriots, Tom Brady chose the Buccaneers in free agency.
All true things, but, like ... c'mahn. Ya know? Just... c'mahnn.
You know saying it that way is a little disingenuous. I know saying it that way is a little disingenuous.
From all accounts, the Patriots didn't make Brady a real offer. When they had all the time in the world to negotiate and save money if they signed Brady before today, they didn't.
And when Brady had the opportunity to talk turkey with the Titans, Raiders and any other number of teams that had been linked to him, they didn't give him the time of day, either. The Titans had already chosen Ryan Tannehill over Brady. The Raiders acted quickly to agree with Marcus Mariota.
Multiple teams reportedly bid for Teddy Bridgewater instead of Brady. Multiple teams tried trading for Nick Foles instead of signing Brady. The Colts, deciding to load up for a Super Bowl bid, signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal.
So that "any number of teams" ended up being this number: Two. Two teams offered Tom Brady a contract: the Bucs and the Chargers.
I don't get it. I've caught flack every time I've mentioned over the last two seasons that Brady, while still great, wasn't as good as he used to be (this really is indisputable, by the way). Yet I'm fully aware that Brady is better than all those players listed above. It's wild that those teams would rather pay those players good quarterback money instead of paying Brady great quarterback money.
[Speaking of which, an anecdote: Feeling quite proud of myself, I told my colleague Tom Curran in the newsroom the other day that maybe teams agreed with me. In a Sorkin-esque moment of perfect repartee, he flatly replied that NFL decision-makers lose their jobs every couple years for being stupid. Fair.]
So why only two teams? This doesn't necessarily answer it, but for a non-Boston perspective on Brady, check out this summary of him from NFL.com's ranking of free agents, which listed Brady 17th:
Brady is a short-term solution who won't fit in most situations, hence this ranking. He also can still play at a league-average-starter level (or better) with protection, which has tremendous value. Hence this ranking.
About "choosing" the Bucs: He ... had two choices, so he chose one of them. Maybe if there were a list of 10 teams, the Bucs would have still been his choice. But there was a list of two teams, which means he couldn't even narrow it down. Narrowing it down meant making his choice.
So tweets like this...
1. A collaborative coach.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) March 17, 2020
2. An underrated roster stocked with weapons on offense and a trending defense.
3. Warm weather.
4. Proximity to NYC.
The Bucs check the boxes.
... should read like this:
5. Showed the slightest bit of interest https://t.co/RhBWI9hEcI— DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) March 18, 2020
So why do we say Brady "left" the Pats and "chose" the Bucs? Is it because Robert Kraft went on a virtual media tour Tuesday morning and told everyone it was Brady's decision? Or is it because we have the utmost respect for Brady and don't want to admit that [whispers] teams didn't want him?
We can say teams are stupid for not trying to sign him. We call all these teams stupid year-round anyway. Acknowledging that there wasn't a market for Brady isn't acknowledging that Brady's bad. It's simply acknowledging that teams didn't want him.
The Patriots didn't lose out to the Bucs. If the Pats wanted him, they could have had him. But they didn't. They were one of 30 teams that felt that way.