Talk about the end of an era

Talk about the end of an era

Josh Lai and Jackson Bundy

Dynasties often rise and fall, either due to players leaving, poor management, or newer, fresher teams on the come up. Such seems to be the case for the New England Patriots. With the departure of future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady, it seems that the legendary duo of Brady and coach Bill Belichick has only one piece remaining. Brady will be moving on next year to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If someone had said that Brady would finish his long, accomplished career with the Patriots, many fans would have believed them. Throughout the history of the NFL, the departure of players from their teams may signify to fans as a vengeance with their former team. However, a professional sports league is a business. It is apparent that Brady thinks this way about the NFL, and even said before the 2019 NFL campaign that this past season would probably be his final one with the Patriots. 

On Stern’s SiriusXM show, Brady said, “I never cared about legacy, I could give a s— about [legacy].” From a young age, Brady was transparent in the fact that he never aimed to play his entire career with one team. That being said, his career with the Patriots could be counted as one entire legacy. Brady’s two decades of playing for the team has yielded six super bowl wins and seventeen AFC East titles. His incredible journey as a Patriot has made many people love him and even more, people despise him. Nonetheless, no one can deny how much he has changed the game.

On March 20th, Brady officially signed his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth $50 million dollars fully guaranteed over two years. As bizarre as it may be to see Brady in a Buccaneers uniform on a Sunday afternoon in Tampa, he will be given the chance to make his return to greatness. 

Paired with Pro-Bowl receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, Brady gets two every-down targets to throw to. Tight end OJ Howard is one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league, but also adds on as a sneaky receiver. Along with the existing receiving weapons, the Buccaneers recently landed tight end Rob Gronkowski in a trade made only a week ago. The former Patriot is a spectacular red-zone threat and also has a lot of chemistry with Brady. With Belichick, the Patriots successfully ran two-tight end sets with Gronkowski and former Patriot Aaron Hernandez. Additionally, the Buccaneers recently drafted running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt who adds explosiveness and runs extremely well in between the tackles. Center Ryan Jensen was named the third-best center in the league by Pro Football Focus and left guard Ali Marpet is one of the best pass blockers. Also, the Buccaneers used their first-round selection on Tristan Wirfs, one of the best tackles in the rookie class, who rounds off the offensive line nicely. 

Brady has not seen this type of offense in over a decade, back when he was throwing to Randy Moss, Dante’ Stallworth, and Wes Welker back in 2007. He put the league on notice that season with 50 touchdowns, setting the single-season record at the time. One asset that is not getting talked about enough is the trade for Rob Gronkowski. A friendly reminder to all NFL fans that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded nearly nothing in order to get the best Tight End the NFL has ever seen. Gronk is fantastic in both the run and the passing game given his extreme strength and incredible agility. Gronk has always been known as one of the best blocking tight ends ever to play the game, and skills like that do not just disappear after one season of not playing. Do not be surprised if the biggest contributor to the Buccaneers is their newest tight end. The now-current Tampa Bay Buccaneers that Brady has surrounded him may not be as great as one of the greatest teams to ever exist, however, they should be able to do some damage. It would not be surprising if we were watching the Buccaneers play into late January or February.

Just a couple of years ago Brady was the reigning League MVP while going to the super bowl and losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, he returned the next year and proved a point and won his sixth Superbowl. Even though Brady had an enormous amount of success just a couple of years ago, after just one subpar season fans are already saying that the GOAT is washed up and soon to be retiring. As the NFL season approaches slowly, every NFL fan is waiting to see the effect that Tom Brady going to Tampa Bay will have on the rest of the NFL. Will Brady re-emerge as the best QB in the league with the excellent team that surrounds him, or will Brady prove the haters right in saying that he is old and washed up.

Other NFL Trades:

Recently, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was traded from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. Many fans regarded this trade as a disappointment for the Texans. Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray adds another weapon in Hopkins to their already stacked offense of Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was dealt to the Buffalo Bills from the Minnesota Vikings. A dynamic deep threat on the outside, Diggs will do plenty of damage to opposing defenses in the AFC East. Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a deep ball unmatched by many quarterbacks, wreaking havoc on defensive backs.

The first of only two players dealt for first-round picks was Diggs, and the other is now Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. The seventh overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has lived up to his potential and goes to Indianapolis where they add onto a stout defensive line. Meanwhile, the 49ers used their newly-acquired first round to grab South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, filling the gap for Buckner.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have seemed to clean house on their defense, letting go All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell and Pro-Bowl cornerback AJ Bouye for a fifth and fourth-round pick respectively. The Jaguars went from the top defense in the NFL two years ago to a newly-developing young squad. The front office in Jacksonville did add on edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson and cornerback CJ Henderson to fill in for their roster holes.

While there are multiple changes this offseason making the possibilities for next season endless. However, the biggest of the changes will be Tom Brady, the Buccaneers went from a good team with a bad quarterback to an even better team with the GOAT being under center.