In messages posted on Instagram and Twitter, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced that "it is time for me to open a new stage of my life and career" and that his football journey will "take place elsewhere."
Brady's departure could shift the power balance in the AFC East and potentially the entire NFL, given the Patriots' six Super Bowl wins with Brady. The quarterback also had a whopping 32-3 record against the Buffalo Bills and threw more TDs against Buffalo than any quarterback has thrown against a single opponent in NFL history.
With all that’s going on in the world today. Two very important things:
1. Stay safe and practice social distancing.
2. Stay out of the AFC East, TOM BRADY. 😲🤣 @TheBillsMafia
— Jim Kelly (@JimKelly1212) March 17, 2020
Brady thanked ownership, coaches and teammates and said he would cherish the memories of the team's success over the last 20 years.
"I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always loved you and what we have shared - a lifetime of memories," Brady wrote.
And here is Tom Brady’s announcement: pic.twitter.com/albCAp1yIU
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020
"Tommy initiated contact last night and came over," owner Robert Kraft told ESPN. "We had a positive, respectful discussion. It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son."
Bill Belichick said in a statement, "Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time."
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 17, 2020
Brady will count as $13.5 million in dead cap money against the Patriots.
The question is where will Brady land, and for how much money. A number of potential landing spots seemed to be filled over the last few days with Ryan Tannehill re-signing with the Titans, the 49ers seemingly intent to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo (meaning Brady would not get to finish his career in his home area), and the Raiders signing Marcus Mariota to backup Derek Carr.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Los Angeles Chargers seem to be the most logical options.
According to reports, Brady has not told informed any teams of his next move.
Brady's career numbers are staggering: 74,571 passing yards with 541 touchdowns and 179 interceptions in 285 games. He is a 14-time Pro Bowler who engineered 45 game-winning drives.
In the end, a tangible effort by the Patriots to keep Tom Brady in New England never happened. No negotiation. Just the intimation that it was on Brady to say what he wanted. For Brady, that stance spoke volumes.
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 17, 2020