The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a tricky spot.
Not only did they lose Tom Brady to retirement this offseason, but they’re still on the hook for a large chunk of his contract, too. Brady’s cap hit for 2023 is set at $35.1 million – a whopping 15.4 percent of the Bucs’ total cap space.
Reports surfacing earlier this month noted the possibility of the quarterback signing a ‘dummy’ deal with Tampa Bay. This would’ve allowed the franchise to push Brady’s cap charge further down the line, however, it also would’ve made him “exclusive contractual property of the Bucs.”
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network this past Sunday, this ‘dummy’ deal appears unlikely. The NFL insider suggested that Tampa Bay will simply take Brady’s full $35.1 million cap charge next season.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk offered two potential scenarios that could’ve led to Garafolo’s comments Sunday.
In one, the Tampa Bay franchise truly wanted to get the deal done, and Brady just refused. If this was the case, there’s not much the Bucs could’ve done.
The second scenario, though, might make Tampa Bay supporters a little more upset. Florio proposed that the Bucs might’ve wanted to have less cap space to pay players this season, which, even in a supposed rebuilding year, is certainly a poor look.
Either way, Garafolo’s comments appear to suggest that Brady will hit free agency this spring.
But if he’s seriously retired “for good” this time, it’ll be interesting to find out why he – or the Bucs – didn’t get the dummy deal completed.