Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady announced Friday he has signed an NFL contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who confirmed the blockbuster free agent signing.
Three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Brady, who turns 43 in August, announced Tuesday he was leaving the New England Patriots after 20 seasons and a record six crowns under coach Bill Belichick.
“Excited, humble and hungry,” Brady said in an Instagram posting of a photo of him signing the document.
“If there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that. You earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day.
“I’m starting a new football journey and I’m thankful for the Buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do. I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me.”
The Bucs said Brady signed a “multi-year” contract while ESPN reported it was a two-year deal. Multiple reports Thursday had the deal worth $30 million (27.6 million euros) a season, what would be a free agent record, breaking the $28 million a year mark set by Kirk Cousins.
“I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m not gonna say much more,” Brady wrote. “I’m just gonna get to work.”
Brady joins a Buccaneers club owned by Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer, a team that has not reached the NFL playoffs since 2007.
The 12-year post-season drought is the NFL’s second-longest active futility run behind only Cleveland.
But if Brady can make magic happen and find his way back to the Super Bowl with a new club, he would be playing for the crown on familiar turf – the 2021 Super Bowl is scheduled for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
That’s clearly the Buccaneers’ goal, their website announcement of Brady’s arrival declaring they are “all in” and Brady as the “greatest of all time.”
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was a member of the Patriots’ scouting staff when Brady was drafted in 2000.
“Tom is a proven champion who has achieved greatness on the field because he demands the best out of himself and his teammates,” Licht said.
“I’ve known Tom since we drafted him in New England 20 years ago and through this process it became very clear that his desire to be a champion burns as strong today as it ever has. He possesses the type of rare natural leadership qualities that will immediately impact our entire organization.”
The Bucs, who won their only Super Bowl title in 2003, are coached by Bruce Arians, who as an assistant coach guided such star signal callers as Peyton Manning with Indianapolis and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.
“Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history of our league, but what makes him so special is his ability to make those around him better,” Arians said.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best passers in our game, and the characteristics they all possessed were the ability to lead and get the best out of their teammates. Tom is no different.
“He’s a proven winner who will provide the leadership, accountability and work ethic necessary to lead us to our goal of winning another championship.”
The Buccaneers boast a powerful offensive unit that ranked third in both total offense and scoring in 2019 behind Jameis Winston, who is now a free agent.
Tampa Bay has two 1,000-yard receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, a rising star at running back in Ronald Jones and two strong reception threats as tight ends in OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.
Brady has enjoyed great success in finding tight ends during his days with the Patriots, notably connecting with Rob Gronkowski before his retirement last March after a victory in last year’s Super Bowl.
And the Bucs are likely to have their pick of available free agents who might want to join Tampa Bay more than before Brady’s arrival.