The entire sports world gave Tom Brady a legend’s farewell yesterday after news broke that the quarterback would retire this offseason. But just hours later, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning QB denied the rumors, saying that he’s still considering his options. Of course, Brady could, indeed, be thinking about playing another season. Or, he could be waiting for his contract to pay out his signing bonus before “officially” making his decision.
You see, timing is everything when it comes to contracts. Brady, 44, agreed to a one-year $25 million extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the 2022 season in March 2021. Because of very specific language meant to manipulate the NFL’s salary cap, Brady needs to wait until Feb. 4 to formally announce his retirement, if that is his intention. Why? Because his initial $50 million deal with the Bucs came with a bonus structure that saved the team $19 million against the cap. This means that the team still owes him money as long as it is operating under the assumption that he will play next season.
In simpler words, Brady will receive an estimated $20 million in bonus money if he waits to announce his retirement for another week or so. If he formally retired yesterday, as was reported, he would have only received a portion of that money based on his contract.
Basically, it’s good business for Brady to keep the world waiting a few more days. And since he is at the tail end of his career regardless, this payout might be his last as a professional athlete.
Tom Brady’s retirement story spread quickly after a couple tweets
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Team Brady immediately dumped cold water on his retirement scoop yesterday. According to anonymous sources, Brady called Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht to say he has not made a decision. Brady’s agent Don Yee said that his client was extremely familiar with the NFL calendar and would announce any news in accordance with standard and accepted practices. Even Brady’s own father chimed in on the record, saying the story was reported prematurely.
‘This story, Mike, is total conjecture,” Tom Brady Sr. told Mike Giardi of the NFL Network. “Tommy has not made a final decision one way or the other. And anybody else that says that he has is absolutely wrong.”
The story began when ESPN tweeted the news yesterday morning; but it really spread like wildfire when Brady’s own company, TB12, tweeted out his stats. That tweet inferred that the original news was correct. Rumors within NFL circles have swirled for weeks, as well.
Thirty minutes later, though, TB12 deleted the tweet, leaving ESPN holding the bag alone.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been expecting Brady’s retirement, with one source saying “all signs point” to their QB not returning next season. After yesterday’s wild ride, however, who knows what to believe.