We knew Tom Brady wasn’t going to be one-and-done with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it turns out he might be sticking around even longer than we thought.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion agreed to a four-year extension Friday, per ESPN, though the amended deal would void following the 2022 season – effectively tacking an extra season onto the two-year, $50 million pact Brady took last year after jumping from the New England Patriots.
Though financial terms have yet to be revealed – Brady has never been one to chase top-of-market deals – this move is very likely about freeing up cap resources for the Super Bowl 55 champs.
The Bucs applied their franchise tag to receiver Chris Godwin earlier this week and re-signed longtime defensive captain Lavonte David. However their laundry list of free agents still included wideout Antonio Brown, tailback Leonard “Playoff Lenny” Fournette, tight end and Brady buddy Rob Gronkowski, kicker Ryan Succop and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
But of most immediate concern, Tampa would like to retain pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, the team’s franchise player in 2020, and a man who posted four sacks between the NFC championship and Super Bowl this year.
Tampa Bay began the day projected about $5.5 million over the league’s $182.5 million salary cap for 2021. They must be in compliance with that figure by the team the new league year (and free agency) begins at 4 p.m. ET next Wednesday.
TB12, a five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time league MVP, will be 44 by Week 1. Brady has long proclaimed a desire to play until he’s at least 45 and would have to do so to break Steve DeBerg’s record as the oldest quarterback to start a game (he was 44 years and 279 days on Oct. 25, 1998 when he started his final NFL game for the Falcons).
Hall of Famer George Blanda, a quarterback much of his career, played until he was 48 but was almost exclusively a kicker after he turned 45.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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