Tom Brady has an agreement in principle to become the new quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons’ division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The deal, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rappaport, is worth about $30 million.
If confirmed, Brady’s signing means the NFC South will become home to three of the most prolific and successful quarterbacks in recent history: Brady, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, who recently signed a new contract.
Cam Newton was told by the Carolina Panthers he is free to seek a trade to another team. Carolina is reportedly near a deal to sign Teddy Bridgewater as the team’s new starting quarterback.
Brady stunned the NFL Tuesday morning when he posted a social media bid goodbye to the New England Patriots, his one and only team for the past 20 seasons.
ESPN Reporter Adam Schefter tweeted the news earlier Tuesday evening. There is no signing date or an official announcement.
Brady has played in nine Super Bowls and winning six of them, both the most in NFL history. He has four Super Bowl MVP awards as well as three NFL MVP awards under his belt.
For the first time in his career, Brady is an unrestricted NFL free agent, and Tuesday morning’s announcement confirmed he is exploring the market.
Current Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history last season to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
Also rumored to be in the mix for Brady’s services were the Los Angeles Chargers, who have moved on from longtime starter Philip Rivers and are moving into a new stadium for the 2020-21 season.
The Tennessee Titans were also rumored to be interested in Brady. However, the team just re-signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a new contract after the one-time Miami Dolphin helped lead the Titans into last year’s AFC title game.
The one-year contract Brady signed before last season expires Wednesday afternoon, and his agent could negotiate a deal with another team on Tuesday, though it can't be official yet. He actually could still work out a new deal with New England, but his Instagram post suggests that won't happen.
Brady has been the enduring face of the Patriots during a run that added another layer to Boston’s already rich sports history. Only Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championship rings in the 1950s and 60s with the Celtics, has won more titles as a member of one of New England’s four major professional sports teams.
Brady would be the oldest starting quarterback in the league at 43 at the beginning of next season. He is also arguably coming off his worst non-injury season. He threw for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019, with eight interceptions. But he completed fewer than 56% of his passes six times in the final eight games of the year, including a season-ending loss to Miami that cost the Patriots a first-round playoff bye.
They lost at home to the Titans in the wild-card round, Brady’s earliest postseason exit in a decade — and likely his last game in a Patriots uniform.
Brady had a one-year contract for 2019 that paid him $23 million, placing him 10th among starting quarterbacks. It was the latest renegotiation by Brady to help give the Patriots salary cap flexibility to fill out the roster.
The chief decision maker in player personnel decisions, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hasn't been shy about moving on from players he felt were past their prime or seeking contracts that exceeded value in relation to their age. Belichick has severed ties with players much younger than Brady during his time in New England.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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