In Depth

NFL ‘goat’ Tom Brady leaves the Patriots and looks set to sign for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback departs the Pats after 20 years

Six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady has announced his departure from the New England Patriots.

The 42-year-old quarterback, who is regarded as the greatest of all time (goat), was a free agent following the expiry of his contract in New England. 

Brady joined the Pats in 2000 and as well as winning six Super Bowls in nine appearances, he was also named Super Bowl MVP a record four times and NFL MVP three times. In his 20-year spell with the Patriots he threw for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “We had a positive, respectful discussion. It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”

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‘A seismic shift’

After the announcement was made by the American football star on social media, Yahoo Sports called it a historic day in NFL history. 

Yahoo’s Frank Schwab said: “Everyone knew that was a possibility as Brady hit free agency for the first time at age 42, but it was still a shock to see him announce it on Tuesday morning with a statement titled ‘Forever a Patriot’ on his social media channels.

“No matter what happens next, Tuesday will be remembered as a historic day in the NFL. Brady is no longer the Patriots quarterback.”

Echoing Schwab’s words, Patriots.com writer Mike Dussault said: “While Brady’s departure from the Pats was always a possibility, it’s truly shocking that his time in New England is now coming to an end.

“For the Patriots, it will be a seismic shift and in the coming days their plans for rebuilding the offense post-Brady will continue to take shape.

“It’s hard to imagine him in another uniform, but Brady will join the likes of his hero Joe Montana by finishing his career for a different team.”

Tom Brady 2018 Super Bowl Patriots v Eagles

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

What Brady said

“To all my teammates, coaches, executives, and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK, and the Kraft family, and the entire organisation: 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.

“I am grateful for all that you have taught me - I have learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximise my potential and that is all a player can ever hope for. 

“Everything we have accomplished brings me great joy and the lessons I have learned will carry on with me forever. I couldn’t be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you. 

“I have benefited from all you have given me. I cherished every opportunity I had to be a part of our team, and I love you all for that. Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that. 

“Pats Nation will always be a part of me, I don’t know what my football future holds. It is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career. 

“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for your incredible TEAM accomplishments. 

“I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to have the memories we’ve created together.”

Brady ‘agrees deal’ with the Bucs

As mentioned in his statement, Brady’s football journey will now “take place elsewhere” and Sky Sports reports that he is set to agree a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The Los Angeles Chargers were also keen on the free agent, but it appears that the Bucs have won the race. Sky says that a deal in the region of $30m (£25m) per year is understood to have been agreed.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said: “With the Chargers out of the running, the Bucs offer to QB Tom Brady is believed to be roughly $30m per year. They are the only known team to make an offer.

“Tampa Bay has been confident all day and for good reason. To be clear: Former Patriots QB Tom Brady has an agreement in principle to join the Bucs, source said. It is believed to be roughly $30m per year.”

Rapoport added on Wednesday that the deal is “agreed and finalised” and all that’s left is for Brady to announce it.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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