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What will happen when Tom Brady becomes a free agent in 2023?

With the legendary QB set to hit the free agent market at the end of this coming season, attention will turn immediately to where he could play next.

Paul Rudder
What will happen when Tom Brady will becomes a free agent in 2023?
Kim KlementUSA TODAY Sports

At the end of this coming season, both the Bucs and their star will have a tricky situation to navigate and once again the speculation will be intense.

Tom Brady will be a free agent in 2023

‘Will he stay or will he go?’ Those were the two questions between which many fans and journalists alike jumped, when it came to specualation about what Tom Brady would do this year. In the end he decided to stay, but at the end of this coming season Tom Brady will become a free agent which means he can definitely leave, if he wants to. Indeed, when Brady put pen to paper on his restructured deal last Friday, it was reported that the new contract included two key elements as far as his future is concerned and they were freedom and protection.

First and foremost, Brady’s new contract didn’t add any additional years to the old deal. It had already been established that at the end of the coming season TB12 would become a free agent. That will remain the case. Then there is the clause. Indeed, Brady’s new contract includes a clause that prohibits the Buccaneers from using the franchise or transitional tag on Brady. This is essential as it basically means there is no way that Tampa Bay can stop him from entering free agency in 2023. In conclusion, assuming Brady wants to continue playing after the end of next season, expect to see him in the free agent market.

What does Tom Brady himself have to say?

Will Tom Brady retire after the 2022 season or will he look to sign with a new team? That’s the million dollar question and while the QB himself hasn’t given any clear indication about his long term plans, he has most definitely not dismissed the idea of playing past the end of next season. “I’m gonna enjoy this year,” Brady said in a recent interview. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen beyond this year. We’re not really promised anything. I’m gonna have to work my ass off to get my body the way it needs to in order to give my team the best chance to succeed.” Brady also went on to say that when speaking with his family about playing again, he told them “One more time.”

“I decided to talk with my family and I said, ‘I think I wanna do this one more time if you guys will support that,’” Brady said. “And my wife was so supportive of it and she said, ‘Look, I want you to be happy. I want you to enjoy it and go out there and win.’ Ultimately, that’s why I came back, to win. There’s only one reason to play for me at this point in my career. And that’s to win.’” So for the moment it would seem that Brady is entirely focused on winning a trophy with the Bucs, which would suggest that any questions about his future won’t be answered. On the other hand there are some factors that may give some indication as to how this could all go down.

What’s true and what’s not about Tom Brady’s future?

As is widely known today, it was reported that Tom Brady almost joined the Miami Dolphins this year. That of course became nothing but a memory once Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the team (and the NFL) back in February. Could Brady revisit that possibility when the season ends? Then there is also the San Francisco 49ers. It had previously been reported that Brady wanted to end his career in San Francisco, could that be an option that he looks to when free agency comes? Of course this is still in the realm of speculation, but there is one thing we do know for certain. At 45 years old - he’ll be 46 in the coming season - the three time MVP has no intention of playing until he’s 50.

“I don’t think I will just because I know the commitment that it takes,” Brady said when asked if he could see himself suiting up at 50. “I know the commitment that it takes for me at 44 and 45. I worked out today and it’s a big commitment and I’m away from my 14-year-old son and my 12-year-old son and my nine-year-old daughter. And they deserve my time and energy and they’re getting older. ...If I played till 50, I’d miss a lot of really important things in his life. And I don’t wanna do that.” What can we take from all of this? While Tom Brady may not play until he’s 50, it’s quite likely that the legendary QB will be on somebody else’s roster for at least a year or two when next season ends.


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