NFL Rumors: One Surprising ‘Sleeping Giant’ Could Snag Tom Brady In Free Agency

Tom Brady in an NFL game.
Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Tom Brady could be headed south in what would be a surprising move away from the New England Patriots, one NFL insider is speculating.

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King said this week that Brady, who will be testing the open market for the first time in his career, could end up heading to a “sleeping giant” in free agency — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As King said in an appearance on WEEI that was shared on Twitter, the Bucs appear to have the pieces in place to becoming a contending team with the help of a quarterback like Brady.

As King noted, the move would be predicated on Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston not signing a new contract with the team, which King hinted could be a likely outcome given reports that Winston is looking for $30 million a season. Winston led the league in interceptions this season with 30 to go along with 33 touchdowns.

“The one I kind of believe is the sleeping giant in this is Tampa Bay,” King said. “And, when I say that, if Jameis Winston is realistic with what his contract demands slash requests — whatever — are, in my opinion, he’ll be the quarterback of the Bucs next year. But, I don’t know that, I’m hearing some things out of Tampa that he might want — and his agents might want — a little bit more money than the Bucs want to pay. And we’ll see if that pans out.”

King noted that Tampa coach Bruce Arians and his reputation as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL could be a big draw for Brady.

There have long been rumors that Brady would be leaving New England once free agency starts, fueled in part by both Brady and his personal trainer putting their Boston-area homes up for sale. The future Hall of Famer sparked more speculation this week with a cryptic social media post that showed him walking out of the tunnel at Gillette Stadium and toward the field.

Brady offered no explanation of the post, but many took it as something of a goodbye to the Patriots as he ends his career with a new team. It would be seen as something of a surprise if that new team was Tampa. This week, the Action Network took to Twitter to publish odds on where Brady would be playing in the 2020 season. The Buccaneers were listed in a tie for fifth along with the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders.