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NFL Rumors: Will Tom Brady return to Bucs in 2021?

/ by Darren Hartwell
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How long will Tom Brady's Tampa Bay honeymoon last?

The former New England Patriots quarterback signed a two-year contract with the Buccaneers this spring and has said he plans to play until at least age 45.

Brady's Bucs have lost three of four entering their bye week, though, leading some to wonder whether Tampa Bay is the best fit for the 43-year-old.

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According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the Bucs don't share those concerns about Brady.

There's a "growing sense" in NFL circles that Tampa Bay ownership "views getting Brady back for a second season as a critical piece of their financial picture," Florio wrote Saturday.

Florio points out that Brady -- whose jersey flew off the virtual shelves in Tampa Bay -- could boost ticket sales for the Bucs in 2021 if stadiums can host fans at full capacity by next season.

And despite Tampa Bay's ups and downs this season, the team still is 7-5 and will be one of the NFL's most relevant teams as long as Brady is there.

But does Brady want to run it back with head coach Bruce Arians? While he's under contract for $25 million next season, he could ask to be released, demand a trade or simply retire if he wants out.

 

Here's what Florio offered about Brady's future:

"At the heart of the question of whether Brady will want to return to Tampa is whether he’ll want to continue to be the pincushion for criticism, both overt and subtle, regarding the performance of the offense.

"Coach Bruce Arians routinely creates the impression that any and all offensive struggles trace to Brady, that he has full power to pick plays and that any failed decision are his, not the coaching staff’s."

Cassel: Brady finding that learning Arians' offense isn't so easy

Arians has shared some blunt criticisms of Brady that even Bill Belichick didn't deliver publicly, while Brady has struggled to adapt to the nuances of a new offensive system.

The Bucs still have a chance to make a playoff run, which could convince TB12 to stick around another year. But if Tampa Bay continues to struggle, Bucs fans may start getting that uneasy feeling that Patriots fans can relate to.