Breathe easy, Buccaneers fans.
After a three-day waiting period, Tom Brady officially announced Friday morning the worst-kept secret and still the biggest stunner in NFL free agency: He is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For good measure, Brady, 42, included a picture of him signing his contract along with his social media post. It is a two-year deal worth $60 million, according to various reports.
“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,’’ Brady wrote. “You earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day. I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the Buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I do.”
After winning six championships in nine Super Bowl appearances and three NFL MVPs over 20 years with the New England Patriots, Brady actually upgrades his supporting cast with the move. He will play with 1,000-yard receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate and running back Ronald Jones.
Brady only had one head coach and three offensive coordinators during his amazing run, but now he joins head coach Bruce Arians, whose aggressive downfield attack worked for Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
“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 in a statement. “I have 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 is a proven winner who will provide the leadership, accountability and work ethic necessary to lead us to our goal of winning another championship.”
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht was a college scout for the Patriots when they drafted Brady in the sixth round out of Michigan 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,” said Licht. “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 Buccaneers have the second-longest active drought of not reaching the playoffs. Their last appearance – a one-and-done loss to the New York Giants – was in 2007. Only the Cleveland Browns (2002) are more starved.
Brady’s arrival instantly elevates the team into the upper echelon of contenders in the NFC, along with the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. He described himself as “excited, humble and hungry.”
“I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me,” Brady said. “I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m gonna not gonna say much more — I’m just gonna get to work!”