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

Don't proclaim Patriots' dynasty over, even with Cam Newton replacing Tom Brady

Don't proclaim Patriots' dynasty over, even with Cam Newton replacing Tom Brady

You haven’t truly arrived as a member of the Boston sports media until you’ve picked up your pen or microphone and declared the Patriots' dynasty dead.

Lots of people you know and love have done this, but I believe I hold the record. And it can’t be broken: In January 2000, before Bill Belichick was even hired, I said there would be no dynasty if Belichick got the job.

So there. See if you can top that.

Over the last 20 years, there have been numerous warnings, in the media and beyond, of big trouble on the Patriots’ horizon. Trades, defections, defeats, retirements, scandals, new and talented challengers. One of those things had to provide the last and final word for this historic run.

Right?

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We already know what didn’t do it: The Drew Bledsoe trade; the Lawyer Milloy release; Adam Vinatieri signing with the Colts; Spygate and the almost-perfect season; Tom Brady, age 31, tearing his ACL and MCL; the 2009 exodus (Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Josh McDaniels, Scott Pioli); the two seasons of New York Jets contention (feel free to place laughing emojis and memes here); Deflategate; the drafting, anointing, and eventual trade of Jimmy Garoppolo; the Super Bowl disappearance of Malcolm Butler; and Brady, age 41, pleading the Fifth when asked if Belichick and Robert Kraft appreciate him enough.

And so here we are, at yet another tension point on this two-decades-long ride. Brady, who will be 43 next month, is gone. Cam Newton, a dozen years younger, is here.

You tell me: Is the dynasty finally over now?

Teams aren’t supposed to be able to survive this. Brady, the best quarterback to ever play, took a lot of championship hard drive with him to Florida. The Brady-to-Newton transfer seems like the work of a rookie scriptwriter: The quarterback who has passed for more touchdowns than anyone (regular season and playoffs) is replaced by the quarterback who has rushed for more touchdowns than anyone at the position… and he’s on New England’s books for fewer dollars than Brian Hoyer.

I don’t know if Newton will be able to overcome his shoulder and foot injuries. But what should be obvious to anyone watching is that Belichick doesn’t have any “bridge year” in him. We’ll all have to keep waiting for his dynasty concession speech. It’s never going to happen.

Really, we all should have seen this one coming. Player restoration is something Belichick is always trying to do. Especially at bargain prices. He’s done it at almost every position except for quarterback, and that’s because this was his first opportunity to do it there in 20 years.

If you use Belichick’s history as a guide, you should also be expecting something else when the preseason begins. Change. Newton is not going to be asked to run the same offense as Brady. In fact, I won’t be surprised if the Patriots’ attack looks, at times, like the Patriots of the late 1970s. That is, a team whose identity is tied to a fierce running game, including the quarterback.

This is where the combination of Belichick’s experience and willingness to adapt makes his year-to-year team vision so interesting and impossible to duplicate.

I’m not just talking about schemes, but players, too. For those who wonder if he and Newton can coexist, just consider the two best players he’s coached, Lawrence Taylor and Brady. Now think about all the different personalities, styles, and societal changes he’s seen between 1981 — when LT was a rookie — and now.

Show me a great coach and I’ll show you a great teacher. Show me a great teacher and I’ll show you someone who knows how to reach the so-called unreachable.

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Frankly, I think Belichick loves what’s happened this spring. The Bills have been installed as division favorites, and Patriots departures — Brady and several others — have forced Belichick and his staff to reimagine what they’re doing. Keep in mind, that’s like asking Bruno Mars to perform. You know, that’s just what he does.

What’s so odd about this situation is that no part of it is supposed to be positive. How is it possible for Brady to leave and yet people still hesitate when you ask, “Is the dynasty over?” Then again, it shouldn’t be possible to win 78 percent of your games (162-46) during the same period in which the NFL has docked two first-round picks and a fourth. Another third-rounder will vanish in 2021.

It’s totally fair to suggest that none of the annual success can continue without Brady. He’s much older than Newton, yes, but has proven to be more durable in his 40s than Newton in his late 20s/early 30s. He’s won 10 times as many playoff games. You can’t just go from Brady to Newton and expect everything to be fine, can you?

You’re not being unreasonable if you say that Brady-for-Newton is the exchange that will finally bring the whole empire down. Or maybe it’s simply time for the league to belong to Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson now. At some point, the long run of double-digit wins has to end. The last time the Patriots didn’t do that in a season, Newton was 13 years old.

Go ahead and answer. Is it over now? Don’t worry about being wrong. You’ll never break my record.

 

Patriots fans will enjoy Cam Newton's Instagram video of workout with Mohamed Sanu

Patriots fans will enjoy Cam Newton's Instagram video of workout with Mohamed Sanu

Cam Newton is already hard at work preparing for the 2020 NFL season.

Newton and the New England Patriots reportedly have agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth as much as $7.5 million with incentives.

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The 31-year-old quarterback was on the free agent market for several months after being released by the Carolina Panthers in March. The whole league passed on him until the Patriots finally took the chance on signing him. Therefore, we should expect a highly motivated Newton entering the 2020 season. Not only does he want to prove his doubters wrong, a strong 2020 campaign would also give him a better chance to land a more lucrative contract next offseason.

Motivation was among the themes of Newton's latest Instagram video, which includes footage from his recent workout with Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in Los Angeles. 

Check it out in the post below (WARNING: the video contains some NSFW language).

Newton is not guaranteed to win the starting quarterback job for the Patriots. He should receive tough competition from 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham, who impressed in last year's training camp and preseason.

It's still hard to bet against Newton, though. The former league MVP is clearly determined to show he's still one of the top 12 or 15 quarterbacks in pro football and get his career back on track.