Tom Brady is retired, but for how long? The quarterback has already stirred up a buzz about returning to the league just days after leaving it. For the sake of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they had better hope that the signal caller makes his final decision after June 1st.
Based on how his contract is set up, the team could be massively liable if he decides to return early in the calendar year with a desire to play elsewhere. According to a Tweet posted by Spotrac, the Buccaneers would incur a $32 million cap hit for 2022 if they trade the quarterback before June 1st.
In other words, he would need to stay out of the NFL for the next three and a half months and ask for a trade after the first day of June to avoid causing calamity for the Buccaneers.
Tom Brady's self-dug retirement hole
It is unknown whether a three-and-a-half month wait would be different from what the quarterback traditionally does in the offseason. Would a return the day after June 1st put him off his game if he decides to stay in Tampa Bay?
There is also the possibility he opts for a change of scenery again, however, nothing would change on the Buccanneers end. If Brady did want to play for another team, he would still need to wait until after June 2nd.
Put simply, the Buccaneers will not be rushing into a trade if the quarterback wants one. Despite being the most accomplished NFL player in history, the team has all of the power in this situation. They are not going to speed into a trade that is going to net them losing Brady and also add a massive cap hit.
By June 2nd, all of the draft-season decisions will mostly be made and all of the top rookie quarterbacks will have new homes. Prime free agents like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson should all have their futures resolved -- at least for 2022. If the quarterback unretires, he will be entering an entirely new NFL as the last kid to the classroom on the first day of school.
Basically, his options will be limited as most teams already would have already zeroed in on the quarterback they want, and the idea of testing the waters on a 44 year old veteran could be much less appealing than a lot of situations around the league right now.
In the end, thanks to the cap-hit situation, Brady has effectively given himself only one viable team to return to: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.