- Bucs re-sign QB Tom Brady to a four-year extension that will open up $19 million in cap space
- Buccaneers hoping to use extra space to re-sign key free agents, including Shaq Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, and Ryan Succop
- Bucs have second-best odds of any team to win Super Bowl 56
Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming back for more. A little over a month after toppling the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl 55, the Buccaneers are already making moves.
On Friday, the Bucs announced that quarterback Tom Brady has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will void to a one-year deal. Brady will be under contract with the team through the 2022 campaign.
In pursuit of 8…LFG @Buccaneers we’re keeping the band together pic.twitter.com/49zUwS5l3D
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 12, 2021
In the end this is little more than a savvy salary cap maneuver. With the move, the Bucs will save $19 million against the cap this season, which is important. Brady essentially sacrificed some of his own salary in order to help Tampa Bay afford to keep its Super Bowl-winning roster together. This is similar to efforts we saw from Brady during his latter years with New England.
The Buccaneers were about $7.7 million over the cap before Brady’s deal was announced. Earlier this week, the NFL announced that the salary cap would be $182.5 million. Tampa went over the cap after slapping the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin and signing linebacker Lavonte David to a two-year deal worth $24 million.
Salary-Saving Move for Bucs
As is the case with Brady’s new pact, David’s contract includes voidable seasons. As a result, David’s contract will count for just $3.5 million against the cap next season. Tampa Bay will owe David’s salary against the cap several years from now, but this is a handy way for the team to attempt to maximize its space during the rest of Brady’s stint. Obviously, the 43-year-old QB has a relatively small window remaining in his career.
On Friday, David praised Brady’s decision to restructure his contract. David said,
“Tom is one of those guys that understands that it takes a whole village to win. It takes a team, a group of guys to win football games. Me, the same thing. I’m all about team. And I’ll do what I can, do what it takes to hopefully get everybody back and go do this thing again. The bond that we had, the bond that we shared this year – it was like no other.”
With the Brady move, the Buccaneers now have enough space to try and re-sign another key defensive cog in Shaq Barrett. The linebacker led the league with 19.5 sacks last season, and he added four more over the course of Tampa Bay’s run to the Super Bowl.
In addition to Barrett, the Bucs have to figure out what to do with other free agents, including Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Ryan Succop. Every one of those players will be come a free agent on March 17 unless the Buccaneers re-sign them ahead of time.
Brady’s Explosive First Season in Tampa
Last month, Bucs GM Jason Licht said he would be “elated” if the team would be able to keep Brady in the fold. Brady has said that he would like to play until he’s 45, but he said before the Super Bowl that he would consider playing beyond that, if possible. He will turn 44 before the beginning of next season, and this deal will keep him on the Bucs’ roster through his 45th birthday.
Brady looked rejuvenated in his first year with the team. The future Hall-of-Famer completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during the regular season. He led Tampa Bay to three consecutive road playoff wins before helping the Bucs become the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Brady threw three touchdown passes in the Bucs’ shocking 31-9 demolition of the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. Tampa Bay entered the game as slight underdogs before dominating Kansas City on both sides of the ball.
Armed with a stacked roster, it’s no surprise that Brady is eager to help the team stick together. The Buccaneers were never odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl at any point last season, but that’s unlikely to be the case in 2021. While Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are actually early +525 favorites, Brady’s Bucs (+850) aren’t too far behind.
Super Bowl 56 is slated to take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February 6, 2022. Brady will attempt to become the first player in NFL history to win the game for the eighth time.
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