Tom Brady to Bucs: Winners and losers from quarterback's move to Tampa Bay
- After Tom Brady became a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we look at the winners and losers from his New England Patriots exit.
The sight of Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform will take a lot of getting used to.
Brady signed with the Buccaneers on Friday after confirming on Tuesday that he would be leaving the New England Patriots.
Leaving the team with which he won an unprecedented six Super Bowl titles is a considerable gamble for Brady.
There will also be those who question the wisdom of the move on Tampa Bay's part, with Brady having demonstrated his first genuine signs of decline last season.
Here we assess the winners and losers from Brady's decision to move south for the final years of his storied career.
Excited, humble and hungry ...if there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that...you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day. I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the @buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do. I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me...I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m gonna not gonna say much more - I’m just gonna get to work! #Year1
WINNER: The entire AFC East
Brady and Belichick have been the bane of the existence of the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets since 2001.
Seventeen of the last 19 division titles have been won by the Patriots. The only exceptions came in 2002, when the Jets won a three-way tie-breaker with the Patriots and Bills, and in 2008, when a knee injury ended Brady's season prematurely and New England finished second behind the Dolphins despite going 11-5 with Matt Cassel.
Belichick will likely see maintaining the Patriots' superiority in the division without Brady as his greatest challenge, and it will be all the tougher with the Bills and Jets having promising young quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Sam Darnold and a rebuilding Dolphins team perhaps set to acquire one of the top signal-callers in the draft.
Could 2020 finally be the year when the torch is finally passed to a new division power?
LOSER: Robert Kraft
The Patriots owner had insisted he did not want Brady to leave and finish his career elsewhere.
Kraft wanted the storybook ending that Brady's incredible career in New England deserved, and made clear his disappointment at the outcome in a statement to ESPN.
"It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest," Kraft said. "After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”
Brady will now try to deliver a fitting finale in Tampa and there can be no question that will hurt Kraft much more than it will the hyper-focused Belichick.
WINNER: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin & O.J. Howard
Tampa Bay's collection of pass-catchers is undoubtedly one of the best in the NFL.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are each magnificent downfield weapons with size that makes them a nightmare to defend.
Tight end O.J. Howard has yet to deliver on his obvious potential, but that could all change with the arrival of Brady.
Though Evans and Godwin have regularly thrived in Tampa, the passing attack has been limited by Jameis Winston's tendency to turn the ball over.
Brady does not suffer from the same issue and Evans, Godwin and Howard should all ascend in 2020 in a substantially more efficient offense.
LOSER: Drew Brees
Brees is back for another two years with the New Orleans Saints.
However, with Brady moving into his division, Brees has a fellow future Hall of Famer competing for the dream farewell on his front doorstep.
With the offensive weapons Brady will have at his disposal and the Buccaneers defense not short on talent, Tampa Bay are more than capable of dethroning the Saints in the NFC South and making Brees' path to a second Super Bowl title an extremely difficult one.
WINNER: Jarrett Stidham
Brady was an unknown to most when he stepped into the breach for Drew Bledsoe in 2001, and Stidham finds himself in a similar situation 19 years later.
Few will be overly familiar with the 2019 fourth-round pick, who struggled in the limited garbage-time snaps he received as a rookie.
A lot can and will happen before teams line up to take their first snaps of the 2020 regular-season, but right now it is Stidham who is in the driver's set to be under center come Week 1.
LOSER: Julian Edelman
The veteran wide receiver appeared to irk Brady when the pair recently attended a Syracuse basketball game.
Edelman gleefully informed the cameras that a clearly uncomfortable Brady was staying in New England.
It is Edelman who will be among those hurt the most by his prognostication proving incorrect.
Edelman is in his thirties and has endured well-documented injury issues, but those factors rarely mattered because of his phenomenal rapport with Brady.
It will take time for him to build that same connection with a new quarterback and, if he fails to do so, the end of Edelman's career could come sooner rather than later.Published 20 Mar 2020, 18:20 IST