Tom Brady’s former teammates think he’ll retire after this season

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former New England Patriots agree with Seth Wickersham prediction that 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady will retire following the 2021 season. 

In the past, Seth Wickersham has had the scoop in behind-the-scenes glimpses into the career of Tom Brady.

Now, Wickersham predicts that Brady may be leaving his current team — and the NFL — for good this time.

“I’m predicting that this will be the last playoff run for three future Hall of Fame quarterbacks with their current teams,” Wickersham wrote last week. “We know that the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger will retire. But I think Tom Brady will, too.”

Apparently, Wickersham isn’t alone in this opinion — and he isn’t the only one with Patriots ties who believes this. ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich also envisions an early Brady departure from Tampa Bay this year.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Tom Brady decided to walk away (this offseason) and do whatever he wants to do,” former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich said Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up!”

“Right now, Tom is in bonus time. How many 44-year-old quarterbacks have we seen throw for the amount of yards and touchdowns (he has)? He’ll be 45 in August. So, at this point right now, what else does he have to prove to anybody? What else does he have to check off the list?”

Former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria echoed Ninkovich’s sentiment, describing the kind of update he expects from Brady this offseason.

“It would not surprise me if, April, there was like a statement released from Brady expressing his gratitude, love and appreciation for both teams that he played with, all the coaches that mentored him, and the owners of the teams that he played for, his family, his parents, his kids, his baby mama, everybody,” Fauria said.

Former Patriots expect Tom Brady to retire this season

Brady has been rather cryptic about when he plans on retiring, although he has repeated that he knows he is nearing the end of his career. Aside from rumors, all that observers have to go off of is Brady’s current contract with the Buccaneers, which is engineered to allow a painless exit if Brady decides to leave earlier than expected.

According to the contract, if Brady retires after the 2021 season, the Bucs will recoup $16 million of their $20 million signing bonus. Additionally, $15 million of that $20 million signing bonus is deferred to 2022. If Brady does play out the full contract, he’ll be fully compensated, but if he breaks early, he won’t compromise the team’s cap space.

It might seem bizarre to some, but retiring at 44 would still be considered retiring early for the unparalleled competitor. Brady has said repeatedly that he hopes to play until 45, and that’s exactly what his contract is designed to accomplish. Even if the seven-time Super Bowl winner claims another ring this postseason, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will retire: the 45-year marker is what he’s been harping on, not the number of championships.

Barring a career-ending injury, expect Brady to ignore the noise and play until his own personal benchmark is reached.

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