Tom Brady isn’t enjoying the 2022 NFL season. From taking a huge hit to his shoulder on Sunday to a run of poor results with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is quickly becoming apparent that Tom Brady should never have returned.
His U-turn on retirement caused a lot of friction in his personal life. Tom Brady thought he was going to return for one last charge to the Super Bowl. The reality is far different.
There has been a sizable change in Tampa since the end of the 2021 season. For all the talent they have on defense, the team as a whole unit got worse over the offseason, especially on offense.
All of a sudden, Tom Brady is looking at the cast around him and wondering if they will even have enough to get into the playoffs.
Tom Brady rushed his decision and made a mistake
It wouldn’t shock anyone to know that Tom Brady is addicted to being a professional football player in the NFL. It has been his life’s work, and all his notable achievements have come on the field.
Retiring as he did immediately after a playoff defeat felt rushed. He clearly wasn’t ready for retirement when he made the announcement.
The problem then was that he equally didn’t give himself enough time to adjust to retired life.
Less than 50 days later and TB12 was back. It wasn’t quite Michael Jordan sending all members of the media a fax, but an element of surprise and drama remained.
Brady was back in football before football had a chance to realize he was gone. There will forever be speculation that Tom Brady hoped to be able to return and be traded to the Miami Dolphins, but there can’t be a concrete answer for now.
Perhaps, then, he wasn’t aware of the shambles that the Buccaneers offense had been left in.
Tom Brady lost key offensive weapons
Out the exit door went Rob Gronkowski and Ali Marpet, two key members of the Super Bowl-winning roster.
When you factor in the earlier departure of Antonio Brown, the Bucs had far fewer offensive options than a year earlier.
Mike Evans is a top-level talent, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed more. In the 2022 NFL Draft, the team failed to fully address these issues. Instead, they opted to add another player to their stacked defense.
Edge rusher Logan Hall was selected with the 33rd overall pick, while a running back didn’t arrive until round three.
Bruce Arians leaving as head coach and the job being given to defensive specialist Todd Bowles was always going to have an impact. Under Arians, the defense was a unit that performed well and won games. Under Bowles, it has morphed into the substance that the entire team is built around.
Taking a sabbatical year wouldn’t have hurt Tom Brady
Even if all the speculation around Tom Brady’s marriage woes with Gisele Bundchen are put to one side, it’s still difficult to say the quarterback made the right call in coming back.
Tampa Bay was a project that was on the way down offensively. It will take two drafts to rebuild the quality that was lost.
You could see the lack of reliable receiving options during Evans’ suspension in Green Bay. Brady is having to hold the ball too long because he doesn’t trust his receivers. He is taking more hits as a result. This isn’t something he can afford at the age of 45.
Instead of immediately returning to the NFL, Brady could have taken a sabbatical year. His game isn’t built around athleticism, he couldn’t lose anything in that area, and it would have allowed him to find a prosperous destination for 2023.
That could have be Miami or another team looking to win quickly, who knows? Remember that the San Francisco 49ers have been linked with Brady before, and they have a win-now roster.
In refusing to take his time and enjoy retirement, Tom Brady panicked and catapulted himself into a no-win situation.
Not only has he reportedly damaged his personal life and marriage, but he is stuck on a team that doesn’t have options to win in January.
Tom Brady needs to be careful
If this is to be his final year in the NFL, this isn’t how anyone wants it to end.
Nobody wants to see Tom Brady taking hard hits as he scrambles to find an open receiver. Every hit he takes is an added risk to his life away from football, too.
The impact sustained hits can have on a quarterback have been well-documented, especially one who has endured previous ACL damage.
The extent of the elbow injury picked up by Brady on Sunday is unclear, but it is a warning sign.
Mid-season retirement is not going to be on his mind at all. However, as the weeks get worse and worse for the Buccaneers, Brady is going to become acutely aware he made a mistake in returning.