Revisiting Tom Brady’s free agency that ultimately led him to quit the Patriots and sign with the Buccaneers


The time has finally come. For the first time since leaving the organization in the spring of 2020, Tom Brady will enter Gillette Stadium to face his former New England Patriots team and former coach Bill Belichick. “The Return,” as announced, is arguably the most anticipated regular season game in NFL history, as Brady faces the team he won six of his seven championships with. It will certainly be a date for all football fans, but how did we come to this? What was the road that ultimately led Brady to leave the Patriots?

Below, we’ll be reviewing the top titles from Brady’s free agent tour until he signs his Tampa Bay deal. Every step of the way, you’ll see developments as they were reported in real time from his last game with the Patriots until his arrival in Tampa.

Patriots lose to Titans, Brady mom on the future

January 4, 2020

Tom Brady’s last game as Patriot was during Wild Card Weekend when New England was knocked out by the Tennessee Titans, 20-13. Even then, it felt like Brady’s tenure had taken its last breath.

“I just don’t know what’s going to happen,” the free agent said after the game, when asked about his future. “I’m not going to predict it and nobody needs to make a choice at this stage. I love playing football. I love playing for this team. I loved playing for this team for two decades and winning a lot. of matches. Again, I just don’t know what that looks like going forward, so we’re just going to take it day to day. ”

Kraft hopes Brady re-signs or retires

January 6, 2020

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has opened up to NBC Sports’ Peter King about Brady’s impending free agency. He admitted his hope was for Brady to re-sign with New England or withdraw from the game altogether. He also gave us some insight into Brady’s thinking ahead of the 2019 season by talking about giving him the freedom to potentially hit free agency.

“Before the start of the season it was very important to Tom that he was free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year,” Kraft told King. “You know what I was like? That anyone who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and who’s been really selfless, has earned that right. I love the young man as he is. he was part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who did this earned the right to control their future after 20 years. “

Brady ready to talk with other teams in free agency

January 19, 2020

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Brady was set to meet teams other than the Patriots in free agency. It was one of the first signs that a start was really on the table. La Canfora noted that Brady would simply look for the destination that would give him the best chance of winning a seventh Lombardi Trophy.

January 30, 2020

Tampa Bay was quickly seen as a possible destination for Brady. During an appearance on WEEI, Peter King of NBC Sports highlighted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a “Sleeping giant”

The Patriots have yet to contact Brady

February 27, 2020

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported at the time the Patriots still had not reached to Brady about a potential new contract. A source also told Guregian “it’s not looking good” for Brady’s return to New England.

Brady and Edelman attend Syracuse game

February 29, 2020

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman were spotted during a Syracuse-UNC basketball game, sitting alongside “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. The trio were then broadcast on national television with Edelman saying on camera, “He’s coming back, he’s coming back” while pointing at Brady. The quarterback looked less than happy with Edelman’s remark.

The two were also seen FaceTiming with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. This sparked particular interest, with Tennessee being one of the possible destinations for Brady’s free agents.

March 3, 2020

Albert Breer of the MMQB reported that the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants have been dropped from Brady’s list of potential landing spots, saying he “has been said quite categorically that no club is would be in the mix “. The Chargers, Titans and Buccaneers were among the clubs vying for Brady’s services, according to Breer, along with the Patriots.

Brady in San Francisco is gaining momentum

March 4, 2020

In an interview on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston said that San Francisco was “close hard on the outside “in the race to land Brady. In addition, Karen Guregian from Boston Herald reacted to Curran’s report with a piece of his own which had its sources saying he “might be on to something”. The Niners – Brady’s hometown team – could have cleared $ 22.4 million from their salary cap at the time had they released Jimmy Garoppolo.

Brady, Belichick’s call ‘didn’t go well’

March 4, 2020

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady finally spoke on the phone about the quarterback’s upcoming free agent status and, as Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian reported at the time that these talks “did not go well”. This was the first time the two sides broached the subject, and it didn’t really start on a positive note.

Bucs go all out on Brady

March 11, 2020

ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that Tampa Bay was ready to give Tom Brady “what he wants” if the quarterback is ready to sign with them. Rick Stroud from Tampa Bay Times confirmed that the Bucs “go all out on Tom Brady. ”

March 15, 2020

Instead of pushing Brady hard, Tennessee finally decided to re-sign Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $ 118 million contract.

Bucs becomes betting favorite to land Brady

March 16, 2020

Mike Giardi of the NFL Network reported that the Buccaneers had made their intentions known to Brady “loud and clear.” It was then that Tampa Bay became the betting favorite to land the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Brady announces he won’t be returning to the Patriots

March 17, 2020

Tom Brady is officially moving on. The quarterback took to social media post length statement saying he won’t re-sign with the New England Patriots, ending his 20-year franchise career.

“I wanted to say thank you to all the amazing Patriots fans and supporters,” he said in a statement. “MA has been my home for twenty years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have imagined in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England. The support has been overwhelming – I wish every player could experience it. My children were born and raised here and you have always adopted this Californian child as yours. I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for our city means more than you’ll ever know.

“I can’t thank you enough for the support of our team. The crowded training camps and sold-out stadiums and especially the victory parades. I had the chance to share them with all of you. always tried to represent us in the best and most honorable way and I fought hard with my teammates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most difficult situations. You opened your door to me heart and I opened my heart to you, and Pats Nation will always be a part of me.

“I don’t know what my future in football has in store for me, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and my career. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we shared – a lifetime of fun memories. “

The announcement came after Brady reportedly went to Kraft to tell him the news face to face with Bill Belichick also on the phone.

Patriots issue statements on Brady’s departure

March 17, 2020

In the aftermath of Tom Brady’s departure, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick issued two long statements.

Robert Kraft:

“How can I sum up the depth of my gratitude to Tom Brady for what he has given us over the past 20 years, or the sadness I feel knowing this is over? I love Tom like a son and I love it. ‘will always love. He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped that day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after another Super Championship Bowl Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to make this dream come true. Although sad today, the overwhelming feeling I have is appreciation for his countless contributions to our team and to our community.

“When Tom arrived in New England as an unannounced sixth-round pick, no one could have imagined the fairy tale story that would be written, the records that would be broken, or the joy he would bring to any. A region. He left 20 years later as the most successful quarterback in NFL history with six Super Bowl wins, nine AFC titles and 17 division championships. He was a teammate and an exemplary leader. There will simply never be another Tom Brady. I now look forward to the day when we can bring him back home to New England to celebrate his Patriots career, his endless accomplishments and his legacy as the greatest of all time. I love him very much. “

Bill Belichick:

“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and carried on our culture. On a daily basis he set the tone and raised the bar. He won. championships in three of his first four years on the field and in three of his last six seasons with us, while competing for championships almost every season in between. of what separates him. He didn’t just perform. He didn’t just win. He won championships time and time again.

“Tom and I will always have a great relationship based on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. Tom’s success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. Nothing in the end of the game. Tom’s Patriots career never changes how incredibly spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he has won the adoration of all and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years .

“The examples of Tom’s greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. We saw how he prepared when he wasn’t playing, how he played when he had the opportunity, what he was doing. to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he has set and, of course, the person he is.I am extremely grateful for what he has done for our team and for me personally.

“Sometimes in life it takes a while to really appreciate something or someone, but that wasn’t the case with Tom. He’s a special person and the greatest quarterback of all. the temperature.”

Brady officially signs with the Buccaneers

March 20, 2020

While it was reported that Brady would sign with the Buccaneers days earlier, he officially took the paper to join Tampa Bay on March 20 after completing his physical exam in New York City. Brady’s contract with the Bucs was a two-year, $ 50 million contract (fully guaranteed).


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