Brady’s signing would bring hope back to Bucs

by Gary Shelton on March 18, 2020

in general

Could Brady move to the South?/JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Try not to think about the miles he has traveled. Try only to think about the moments he has accomplished.

Tom Brady is 42 years old. He has been sacked 500 times, and hit countless others. His right arm has thrown 9,988 passes, and that's just in the regular season. Who knows how much he has left in the tank?

On the other hand, he is hope. He is promise. He is a reason to believe that next season will be better than the last several.

And for that alone, it is a wonderful day in Tampa Bay.

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Tom Brady is a Buc. Whoever would have believed it? Who would have thought that the Bucs, of all teams, would win the biggest prize in free agency, Brady has been elected to 14 Pro Bowls. He has won three MVPs. Four Super Bowl MVPs. Six Super Bowls.

And now, he is yours.

Granted, there are free agent deals that go bad. A leaky offensive line could make Brady look his age. A losing culture could drag him down until his signing is no better than Johnny Unitas with the Chargers or Joe Namath with the Rams.

But Brady never looked old as he played. He still threw for more than 4,000 yards last year (his eighth time above the plateau in the last nine years). If this season matters, and we hope it does, who wouldn't want Brady beneath center?

With him, Brady brings credibility. He brings a fresh optimism. He brings a chance. You can now expect big things from the Bucs, and from Brady. He is a clear upgrade at football's most important position, and when the current Bucs are looking for the voice of leadership, it is Brady who will provide it. Heck, the new uniforms might as well have a picture of Brady over the heart.

If the reports of Brady's imminent signing are true, there has never been a bigger acquisition by Tampa Bay. Not Jon Gruden. Not Simeon Rice. Not Shaq Barrett. No one. He's worth the price of a ticket. He's worth an afternoon in the sun.

Bucs' football is relevant again. It matters. Tampa Bay matters.

Personally, I doubted it from the first whisper linking the two together. I was wrong. (My wife reminds me that I often am; she is the '72 Dolphins, and I am the '76 Bucs.) I could not wrap my head around the Bucs walking away with Brady as much as they would like to. I could not imagine Brady walking toward them.

Can you imagine how this is playing in the minds of other free agents? If you're a right tackle, wouldn't you love to play with Brady, a man who knows how to get rid of the ball? If you're a wide receiver, wouldn't you love to join him in pewter-and-red?

How about with the Bucs? Think Mike Evans and Chris Godwin aren't pumped? Think Ndamukong Suh isn't tempted to try one more time? Winning is fun, and the Bucs just signed the biggest winner in the history of the game. The Patriots have dominated the free agency era; now the Bucs have signed away their biggest free agent.

Oh, there is a downside. Brady's age. Time is undefeated, as they say. His stay won't be a long one here. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs draft a kid quarterback high to develop him.

There have been great moments in the history of the Bucs. The Super Bowl win. Ronde's return. Selmon into the Hall of Fame (and Brooks and Sapp). Gruden's signing.

This was a Mount Rushmore moment for the franchise.

This was the signing that brought back possibilities.

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