Tom Brady’s southern migration is now official after the 42-year-old quarterback signed a two-year, $50 million contract Friday to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady got his goodbyes out of the way earlier this week, thanking the New England Patriots for all the memories he made en route to six Super Bowl titles and nine appearances in his 20 years as the Patriots’ quarterback.
Now he’ll join a long list of great athletes finishing their careers in an unfamiliar uniform. Brady reportedly agreed Wednesday to the deal, which is completely guaranteed and could be worth another $9 million with incentives, according to ESPN. Brady also has clauses in his contract keeping the Buccaneers from trading him or placing the franchise tag on him, indicative of his hopes to play beyond the two years he’s signed for.
Brady took to social media to announce the news.
“Excited, humble and hungry ... 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 on Instagram. "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 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.
“I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m not going to say much more — I’m just gonna get to work," he added.
The Buccaneers are moving on from Jameis Winston, currently a free agent, after going 8-8 last season. Brady’s addition has reportedly drawn free agents to Tampa Bay in hopes of winning a title.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht was a scout for the Patriots when Brady was drafted in the sixth round in 2000. Now, he’s building a team around the quarterback, who threw 24 touchdowns to just eight interceptions last season.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Brady wasn’t the only one finalizing terms with a new team. Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley — both first-round running backs from the 2015 NFL draft — are headed to new situations. Gurley was released by the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, one year into a four-year extension. He was a two-time All-Pro with the Rams but saw a steep regression as injuries slowed the 25-year-old.
Gurley, a former University of Georgia standout, signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons reportedly worth $6 million.
Gordon, already a free agent, signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Denver Broncos. The 26-year-old similarly saw a hastened fall from grace as the pounding of 200-plus touches every year caught up to him with the Los Angeles Chargers.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2018 and surpassed 1,300 all-purpose yards for three straight seasons between 2016-18. Both Gordon and Gurley are examples of the changing tide for elite running backs in the NFL as teams become more wary of the limited shelf life for high-usage runners.
Gurley was the highest paid running back when the Rams gave him a contract extension, but Gordon didn’t have the same fortune. He held out and requested a trade last offseason after the Chargers chose not to offer him an extension. Gordon sat out of training camp and skipped the first four games of the season before ultimately returning.