TAMPA, Fla. — It’s hard to imagine a world where Tom Brady isn’t playing quarterback in the NFL. Many NFL players - including some of Brady’s teammates - have never even lived in a world where Brady wasn’t cashing checks at the game’s highest level.
The reality of a post-Brady NFL may be on the horizon, however, after a lackluster 2022 regular season ended with an embarrassing loss in the wild card round to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.
“If he wants to play he wants to play, but to me it’s clear it’s about time to hang them up,” Brian Peacock of the Peacock and Williamson show said. “But I thought the same thing at the end of his Patriots career….turns out he wasn’t done but I think he’s actually done this time.”
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Brady left New England at age 42 and spent the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, leading the NFL in completions in each of the last two seasons while finishing second in MVP voting as recently as 2021.
Brady took a step back in 2022, still completing a league-leading 490 passes but posting a pedestrian 25-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio while leading the Bucs to a losing record at 8-9 that was still good enough to win the NFC South.
Beyond the numbers, it’s clear Brady is just a step slower than he once was - a reasonable expectation for a 46-year-old who has now spent half his life getting beat up in the NFL.
“He’s not that guy anymore,” Matt Williamson said on Peacock and Williamson. “Especially because he won’t hold it and he doesn’t make plays, a lot of stuff on the move and that’s not Tom Brady.”
Brady is still expected to have suitors this offseason, even after a down year, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the league’s greatest quarterback hang them up - for good this time.
For more, check out the daily Locked On Bucs podcast, which will be monitoring Brady throughout the offseason.