Tom Brady had already told the world he wasn't going to be one-and-done with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However now it turns out he might be sticking around longer than we thought.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion agreed to a four-year extension Friday, per ESPN, though the amended deal will void following the 2022 season – effectively tacking an extra season onto the two-year, $50 million pact Brady took last year after jumping from the New England Patriots amid his first dalliance with free agency.
Though financial terms have yet to be revealed – Brady has never been one to chase top-of-market deals – this move is very likely about freeing up cap resources for the Super Bowl 55 champs.
With his new extension, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady may have enabled the Super Bowl 55 champs to run it back with free agent TE Rob Gronkowski (87) and others in 2021. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
The Bucs applied their franchise tag to wide receiver Chris Godwin earlier this week and subsequently re-signed longtime defensive captain Lavonte David. However their laundry list of free agents still includes wideout Antonio Brown, running back Leonard "Playoff Lenny" Fournette, tight end and Brady buddy Rob Gronkowski, kicker Ryan Succop and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
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But of most immediate concern, Tampa would like to retain pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, the team's franchise player in 2020, and a man who posted four sacks between the NFC championship game and Super Bowl earlier this year.
Tampa Bay began the day projected about $5.5 million over the league's $182.5 million salary cap for 2021, per Over The Cap. They must be in compliance with that figure by the time the new league year (and free agency) begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.
TB12, a five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time league MVP, will be 44 by Week 1. Brady has long proclaimed a desire to play until he's at least 45 and would have to do so to break Steve DeBerg's record as the oldest quarterback to start a game (he was 44 years and 279 days on Oct. 25, 1998, when he started his final NFL game for the Falcons).
Hall of Famer George Blanda, a quarterback much of his career, played until he was 48 but was almost exclusively a kicker after he turned 45.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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