Tom Brady to Tampa Bay?
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The 42-year-old 19-year starter Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots and has signed a 2-year deal fully guaranteed worth 50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In my opinion this move by Tampa is very much a boom or bust.
The positives of the move are evident from the super bowl betting odds. Prior to signing Tom Brady, the Buccaneers were at 55-1 and rose to 16-1 with the addition of Brady. The Buccaneers in the space of a day went from a bottom 10 team in the NFL to Super Bowl contenders. Brady, who is a 6-time Super Bowl champion with exception of Randy Moss has never played with a truly elite top 10 wide receiver. Yet, it could now be argued he is playing with two in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans who racked up 1,333 and 1,157 receiving yards in 2019, respectively. Along with Evans and Godwin Tampa Bay has potentially the best Tight End group in football: OJ Howard, Cameron Brate and the most recent addition of Rob Gronkowski out of retirement from the Patriots for a 4th round pick. The addition of Gronkowski pushed to Buccaneers to a further 9-1 favourites to make the Super Bowl putting them at tied 3rd with the San Francisco 49ers.
Although it appears to be an outstanding move by the Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht there are holes in the argument. With Brady’s contract being fully guaranteed they are tied to a quarterback going into his 43 and 44-year-old seasons. Although Brady has fought off father time so far in his 19-year starting career, eventually it catches up with everybody. Additionally, Brady’s decline over the last 3 years is evident especially from the previous two. His QBR has fallen from 3rd in 2017, 6th in 2018 all the way to 17th in 2019. Further, his percentage of ‘on-target’ throws ranked 3rd worst among quarter backs who have thrown more than 300 passes in 2019. While usually this sort of decline in quarterback stats would a line with depreciating O-Line play the Patriots only allowed 1.6 sacks a game the 3rd least in the NFL in 2019.
Despite what appears to be a steep regression in Brady’s stats it is undeniable that the Patriots offensive weapons were far depreciated from previous years and in my opinion the worst in the NFL in 2019. Brady’s wide receiver group consisted of 1st round rookie receiver N’Keal Harry who was injured and the beginning of the season and never got on the right page as Brady later in the year, Phillip Dorsett who is no more than a deep-threat speed receiver, Mohamed Sanu who proved incapable to separate and a beaten up Julian Edelman. His tight end group like his wide receivers were unable to gain separation and consisted of 39-year-old Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse.
I find it incredibly hard to predict how both Brady and Tampa Bay’s season will go. Brady has always defied his critics and defeated the odds, and whilst his stats portray a decline his new group of receiver’s rivals that of the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints. Brady unlike Jameis Winston will not throw 30 interceptions and that alone will project them as a better team than the 2019 Buccaneers. While they face a tough schedule and reside in one of the best divisions in football, the NFC South I believe they will make the play-offs and Brady will perform like a top 15 quarterback in 2020.