The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were given a dose of déjà vu on February 1 when Tom Brady decided to announce his retirement for the second time in the last calendar year.
It’s not because of Brady’s second go-around with his post-football life. It’s because he chose the same date in 2022 when he stayed retired for 40 days.
Tom Brady officially filed a letter today with the NFL and NFLPA, reconfirming his Feb. 1 retirement, per sources.
This letter silences any questions about whether Brady might return and now makes him eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2028. pic.twitter.com/o8iAgbxrQS
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 10, 2023
But this time around, he’s staying retired for good. And it’s not just because he said so in his farewell video on Twitter. Per ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Brady filed his retirement papers with the NFL and NFLPA on Friday, February 10.
And, according to Schefter, the letter “silences” any thought of a return.
The latter part is key for the Buccaneers. The hope was Brady would sign a one-year deal with the Buccaneers in order to stay on the roster until after June 1.
The move would allow the Buccaneers to recoup around $24 million in salary cap space, as they are currently $55 million over the cap.
That’s obviously a good chunk of space to alleviate and would certainly help a franchise that is adamant about continuing to field a competitive roster in 2023. But now, that’s going to be a lot harder to accomplish. Actually, it’s going to be much, much harder.
It’s mostly because the Buccaneers don’t have a ton of logical options when it comes to the contracts they can re-work.
Sure, Donovan Smith is in the final year of his deal, but he won’t come any cheaper than what he’s currently priced at.
And, extending him creates more cap strain down the road for a team that has key players like Tristan Wirfs, Antoine Winfield Jr., Devin White, and others to give second contracts to in the near future. There are other players like Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Ryan Jensen, and others who have large base salaries.
But again, the Buccaneers would just be pushing more money down the road and could put themselves in another pretzel when it comes to figuring out who they need to keep in regards to the core of the team.
The good news is that Brady is officially off the books in 2024, instead of counting $11 million against the cap. Still, the $24 million in savings would’ve come in handy in a major way in 2023.
No matter how you slice it, Brady’s decision to file the retirement paperwork is going to hurt the Buccaneers in 2023. It wasn’t intentional by any means, but life just got a lot harder for Jason Licht and Mike Greenberg.