Patriots

Report: Buccaneers 'going all in' to sign Tom Brady in NFL free agency

Report: Buccaneers 'going all in' to sign Tom Brady in NFL free agency

Could the answer to making the Tampa Bay Buccaneers relevant again be luring Tom Brady in free agency?

The 42-year-old quarterback is able to become an unrestricted free agent March 18 when the market opens. Brady has played his entire 20-year career with the New England Patriots and has never hit free agency. If he does become available, several teams reportedly could show interest in signing him. 

One potential landing spot is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a piece Wednesday explaining "The Bucs are going all in on Tom Brady."

If we reach the legal free-agent tampering period Monday at noon and Brady is behind Door No. 2, Bruce Arians and the Glazer family will try to kick that sucker down for Touchdown Tommy.

TB12 for TB’20.

This is not hype. It’s hope. This is fact, not fantasy. This is the plan. This is the Bucs’ play.

It makes sense for the Buccaneers to be aggressive in their pursuit of Brady. They need an upgrade at quarterback after seeing Jameis Winston throw a league-leading 30 (!) interceptions last season. It's very difficult to win without a top-tier quarterback -- of the last seven Super Bowl championships, six were won by Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Brady.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians didn't even shy away from mentioning Brady when asked about free agent quarterbacks at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine a few weeks ago.

The best decision for Brady is staying put in New England, where's he won six championships and will forever be a beloved sports figure. The Patriots would still be among the top contenders in the AFC if he returns, and with a few upgrades at wide receiver and the offensive line, it's not inconceivable to imagine this team returning to the Super Bowl. New England's defense also ranked at, or near the top of the league in many statistical categories last season, and this unit should again be very good in 2020.

The Buccaneers just aren't a good team. The defense is not impressive (third-most points allowed last season), and Tampa Bay's rushing attack gained only 3.7 yards per carry (tied for the third-lowest in the league). If Brady wants to win championships in the last chapter of his career -- and we know he's as competitive as any athlete in recent memory -- the Buccaneers are not the best team for him.

It sure sounds like the Buccaneers will make a strong effort to sign Brady, though, and who can blame them?

Curran: As free agency approaches, the ball is in Brady's court

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower used Super Bowl LI to support fiancée during labor

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower used Super Bowl LI to support fiancée during labor

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history is three and a half years old, but it certainly isn't forgotten.

Just ask Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who brought up New England's miraculous Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons while his fiancée, Morgan Hart, was delivering their baby. Seriously.

Hightower told The Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld he started chanting "28-3, 28-3" and "Never give up" while Hart entered her 17th hour of labor with their first child last month.

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Apparently the motivational tactic worked, as Hart said Hightower's words helped her push through and deliver their baby boy, Grayson, on July 16.

"It was surreal," Hart told Grossfeld. “It was a long night and a long day, and he kept reminding me, ‘28-3, 28-3,′ meaning you can be behind and come back. Never, never give up."

That's a reference to the deficit New England faced in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI before rallying to win in overtime -- thanks in large part to Hightower's strip sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan early in the fourth quarter.

Hightower still uses the 28-3 reference "all the time," per Grossfeld, but his focus won't be on football in 2020. The 30-year-old linebacker is one of eight Patriots players who have decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

"Not knowing too much about the COVID thing, I don’t want to jeopardize the health of my family," Hightower told Grossfeld. "I understand you can still catch it by going to the grocery store, but I’m not going to put my family’s health at risk for money.

"It’s family first. I want to take all the opportunity that I can to be a great father."

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Donald Trump says he'd ask Patriots' Bill Belichick for military advice

Donald Trump says he'd ask Patriots' Bill Belichick for military advice

You wouldn't seek out a military general for tips on NFL roster building, but Donald Trump apparently believes there's some transferrable wisdom between the battlefield and gridiron.

During an interview Tuesday on The Hugh Hewitt Show, President Trump was asked whether he believes Bill Belichick has a better chance of winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots this year than Tom Brady does with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Trump responded with a diplomatic answer -- that included some eye-opening praise for Belichick.

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"I think they’re both going to do great. They’re both friends of mine," Trump told Hewitt. "I’ll tell you, Belichick is an incredible coach, and I think he’s going to do really well. This guy just knows how to win. And he’s a very good friend of mine. He’s a winner.

"You know, if I ever had a military battle, I’d call up Belichick and say, 'What do you think? ... Give me a couple of ideas.' And he'd be as good as any general out there."

Belichick is a master strategist who relies on knowledge, adaptability and thorough preparation to put the Patriots in the best position to succeed. Those are all qualities of a successful military general, and perhaps Belichick could have been one in another life.

Alas, Belichick is a football coach with zero military credentials (aside from his father coaching at Navy), so we're not sure he's the best person to call about battle strategy.

Trump has touted his friendship with Belichick and Brady over the years, reading a letter of support from the Patriots coach on the eve of his election in 2016 and bringing up the former Patriots quarterback in various public appearances.

The President clearly still enjoys referencing both Patriots icons, even if his understanding of Belichick's talents is a bit off.