Tom Brady didn’t take long to determine his landing spot in the NFL.
The former New England Patriots quarterback agreed in principle to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized and cannot be completed until the start of the league year on Wednesday.
NFL Network was first to report the news.
The deal is believed to be worth roughly $30 million per year, according to NFL Network.
Earlier on Tuesday, NFL Network reported that the Los Angeles Chargers believed they were out of the running for Brady. The six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time MVP would prefer to stay on the East Coast because of “family considerations,” according to the report.
Brady, who will turn 43 in August, said on Tuesday he will not return to the Patriots next season and instead look elsewhere in free agency, ending his 20-year run with the organization.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach (Bill) Belichick, RKK (owner Robert Kraft) and the Kraft family and the entire organization,” Brady wrote on a post to his social media channels. “I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values. … Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.”
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In Tampa, Brady would work under the guidance of coach Bruce Arians, who sharply contrasts the Patriots’ Bill Belichick with his self-described easygoing demeanor. The Buccaneers’ top-ranked passing offense (302.8 yards per game) also returns plenty of talent, including Pro Bowl wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Arians, however, has typically favored strong-armed passers in his “no risk it, no biscuit” downfield passing attack and might need to adjust for Brady and his quick-trigger approach.
Jameis Winston, who served as the Buccaneers’ starter since being selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft, is a free agent.
The move is a significant splash for a franchise primarily known for its turbulent early years, in which it routinely finished with one of the league’s worst records.
The Buccaneers have the NFL’s second-longest active playoff drought, having not made the postseason since 2007. Since that time, Brady has won three Super Bowls and made 11 postseason appearances, missing out in 2008 when he was sidelined for the season by a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Tampa will host the Super Bowl in the 2020 season as the Buccaneers look to become the first NFL team to win the Lombardi Trophy on their home field.
Any regular-season rematch with the Patriots will not occur until 2021, when the Buccaneers are scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium.
Several other quarterback dominoes had already fallen throughout the NFL prior to Brady’s decision. The Tennessee Titans, once seen as a leading contender for Brady, decided to re-sign incumbent starter Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $118 million contract on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Colts reached a one-year pact with longtime Chargers signal-caller Philip Rivers, a person with knowledge of the move told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because deals cannot become official until the start of the league year on Wednesday.
Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.
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