New England Patriots: What on earth is going on with Tom Brady?

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Reports have been buzzing for the past few days that former New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, was set on retiring at some point over the next few days. So, when it was reported by Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington of ESPN that Brady was indeed retiring, many people assumed they were correct.

The NFL quickly went into a frenzy. Brady is clearly one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of professional sports, and given that he was still playing at an absurdly high level in 2021, it seemed unlikely that Brady would want his career to end the way it did in the Divisional Round against the Los Angeles Rams. But then again, what more did Brady have left to accomplish?

However, it appears that the two ESPN reporters may have jumped the gun a bit. Reports came out shortly after that Brady had not actually made a decision about his retirement, and relayed that to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers front office. So basically, Brady’s decision to retire came out before he actually decided whether or not he wanted to retire.

Despite the fact that the Championship Round of the NFL playoffs is tomorrow, and Brady isn’t even playing in them, he has managed to become the talking point of the league yet again. So what gives? Why was Brady’s retirement announced before he had even come to a decision? Let’s break down what happened, why it happened, and what the future may hold for Tom Brady.

New England Patriots legend Tom Brady hasn’t actually retired…yet

Prior to Schefter and Darlington breaking the news that Brady had officially retired, rumors had been swirling that Brady was indeed set to announce his retirement in the coming days. It appears though that Schefter and Darlington got a bit antsy, and whoever their sources are were sorely mistaken.

Once word started to spread that the report was inaccurate, the NFL devolved into chaos. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians claimed Brady hadn’t let him know he was retiring. Different sources were saying Brady let Tampa Bay’s general manager, Jason Licht, know that he hadn’t decided what he was doing yet either. Even Brady’s father, Tom Brady Sr., felt the urge to let the media know that the initial report was blatantly inaccurate.

So now everyone is left wondering what on earth is going on down in Tampa Bay with Brady and the Bucs. There are a couple of possible explanations for what is going on, so let’s take a look at them:

  • The biggest issue appears to be the timing of the announcement. Brady didn’t want to interfere with the NFL Playoffs and take the spotlight away from them according to a couple different reports, but he still somehow managed to do so. While he’s still probably going to retire, Brady will most likely stay silent until the upcoming week.
  • Brady also has some incentive to push his decision off until next Friday, February 4th. That date is significant because Brady would earn $15 million from the Bucs as part of his signing bonus from his restructured deal from last offseason. So if Brady decides to retire before then, he basically forfeits a free $15 million.
  • There’s also a chance that Brady just simply hasn’t made up his mind about what he wants to do in the future. The media is still trying to frame it as if his retirement is inevitable at this point, which very well may be true. But I wouldn’t completely rule out Brady returning at this point either, especially after this debacle.

The most likely scenario is that Brady will officially retire at some point next week, which would probably be a relief for most New England Patriots fans. However, if Brady ends up flipping the script and sticking around for the 2022 season, what happens then?

In the event Brady were to suit up next season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try to find his way out of Tampa Bay in order to make one last run for the Super Bowl. The Bucs are going to go through some pretty significant changes this offseason, and we saw just how downtrodden their offense was at the end of the season. Antonio Brown is already gone, Chris Godwin is a free agent, and old friend Rob Gronkowski might retire too.

3 Bills players the Pats should target in free agency. dark. Next

For the New England Patriots, this means fairly little in terms of on the field play. Off the field, this could lead to some really interesting events in the upcoming season, such as a potential jersey retirement ceremony for Brady. For now, Brady has once again captured the attention of the entire league, and the world anxiously awaits his upcoming decision on his future.