Tom Brady has confirmed he will join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers having left the New England Patriots after 20 years with the team.

The 42-year-old won six Super Bowls and nine AFC Championships in a sensational spell of dominance with the Patriots after being drafted at 199 overall back in 2000.

Intense speculation over his future followed January's playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans and Brady announced he would be leaving the Pats in posts on social media on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he confirmed in an Instagram post that his next team will be the Bucs.

According to reports, Brady will be paid around $30million-a-year.

Brady will replace Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback at Raymond James Stadium and work under head coach Bruce Arians, who is entering his second season.

Three-time NFL MVP Brady will be tasked with turning the Bucs’ fortunes around as they bid to end a run that has seen them fail to reach the playoffs since 2007.

They had a 7-9 record in the NFC South last season as Winston led the league with 5,109 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns but also racked up 30 interceptions.

Brady will look forward to working with some impressive receiving weapons after being starved of quality options with the Patriots recent seasons.

Family considerations are said to have played a part in his decision to remain on the East Coast amid interest from the Los Angeles Chargers but the presence of the Bucs’ Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would have also appealed.

Evans has registered six consecutive 1,000-yard-plus seasons and Godwin went for 1,333 yards last season, while tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate give Brady some other intriguing playmakers.

An improving Bucs defense will again be led by NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett, who has received the franchise tag, while Jason Pierre-Paul has re-signed with the team in free agency.

A competitive NFC South will be one key obstacle for Brady. Fellow veteran QB Drew Brees is staying with the New Orleans Saints, winners of the division for three straight years.

The Atlanta Falcons, led by Matt Ryan, are three seasons removed from their Super Bowl defeat to a Brady-inspired Patriots, while the Carolina Panthers will have new QB Teddy Bridgewater under center.

A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.


Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

Tom Brady is set to sign for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, according to reports.

It is a new dawn for Brady and the NFL, with the six-time Super Bowl champion opting to leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons.

According to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, veteran quarterback Brady is poised to join the Buccaneers as a free agent.

Brady's deal to swap the Patriots for the Buccaneers – led by Bruce Arians – is reportedly worth $30million per year.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and hometown team the San Francisco 49ers were also linked with the 42-year-old great.

However, Brady is set to take his services to Tampa Bay, where quarterback Jameis Winston is an unrestricted free agent after struggling for consistency.

After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots' starting QB in his second season and immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI, also claiming MVP honours.

A further five Super Bowl successes followed, with Brady the MVP in three of the games.

Brady leaves the Patriots having thrown for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns – tallies topped only by Drew Brees in NFL history – in 285 appearances.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have not featured in the playoffs since 2007 following a 7-9 record in the NFC South last season.

Tom Brady delivered the news that he is leaving the Patriots on Tuesday after 20 years in New England.

The 42-year-old, a six-time Super Bowl champion, will enter free agency and continue his NFL career elsewhere.

The news that the most successful quarterback of all time was moving on prompted many on social media to pay tribute to Brady and his incredible run with the Patriots.

Here, we round up the best from those across the sports community.


Brady's go-to receiver in recent years has been Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman, who posted a series of images of the two together along with the caption "family".

Tedy Bruschi was with New England when Brady got drafted in 2000 and he said the veteran's statement was "class personified".

Former cornerback Darrelle Revis, a long-time foe when with the New York Jets before crossing the divide and winning a ring with New England, revealed how difficult it was going up against Brady every day in practice. He wrote on Twitter: "Practice against Tom Brady everyday was like playing on the 92' Dream Team. He brought that much intensity to the practice field.

"Which ever team he lands [on] I'm sure he will continue his legacy of playing a great brand of football."

It was not just NFL players who commented on Brady's exit. NBA great LeBron James, who swapped the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers at different junctures in his career, said he was "looking forward to the next chapter at hand" in a reply to one of Brady's Instagram posts.

James' international team-mate Kevin Durant said he "can't wait to watch the next chapter" while WWE icon The Rock added: "Hate to see you leave, but support you wherever you go."

In winning six titles, Brady is considered a Boston sports icon. David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, who is in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame after being part of three World Series-winning teams, told Brady: "We will miss you on that field."

Brady's recent team-mates Josh Gordon and Ben Watson also paid tribute to their former colleague. Gordon commented on the quarterback's Instagram post, saying it had been "an honour and privilege to even sit next to you", while the recently retired Watson told him to "do what's best" for his family.

Jarrett Stidham, who backed up Brady in New England last year, added: "Love you brother! Thank you for everything!"

Several other players, including Patrick Peterson, Von Miller and Antonio Brown, simply tweeted the goat emoji in response.

Others turned their attention to what might be next for Brady.

Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who took the Bills to four successive Super Bowls in the 1990s, told his Twitter followers to "stay safe and practice social distancing" while telling Brady to "stay out of the AFC East".

Super Bowl LIV champion Tyrann Mathieu wants to see Brady enter his division, though, the Kansas City Chiefs safety suggesting he will go to the Los Angeles Chargers.

However, former wide receiver Torrey Smith wants boyhood 49ers fan Brady to move to San Francisco and join his old team.

Should none of the other 31 NFL franchises fit the bill for Brady, the NHL's Anaheim Ducks mocked up Brady in one of their jerseys to make their pitch.

The previously unthinkable is to become a reality: Tom Brady has confirmed that his "football journey will take place elsewhere".

Brady will not be a New England Patriot when he starts his 21st NFL season, but where he lands in free agency remains unclear.

The Tennessee Titans are ruled out after re-signing Ryan Tannehill while the Las Vegas Raiders' reported acquisition of Marcus Mariota means Sin City is unlikely to be Brady's next destination.

So where is his most likely landing spot? We assess the options.



A sporting icon moving to the City of Stars late in his career? See LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers for evidence that can happen.

The Chargers, who would welcome a star acquisition to help sell season tickets for their new stadium, have a lot in the 'pros' column. They have a vacancy following Philip Rivers' departure, the cap space (over $50 million for 2020) and a plethora of offensive weapons such as Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler.

Los Angeles is also geographically appealing for a man who recently launched his own production company. Yet would Brady really want to challenge Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champions for supremacy in the AFC West?



Another team heavily linked to Brady has been Tampa Bay, who are letting Jameis Winston hit free agency after he led the league in passing yards in 2019.

Winston also threw more interceptions than anyone else, and that is why a player of Brady's calibre - even at 42 years old - would be appealing to head coach Bruce Arians.

Brady's eyes would light up at the possibility of playing with a receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the Florida weather is a plus point too. Are the Bucs close enough to contending for a Super Bowl, though? 



The aforementioned Rivers seems a logical fit here given his familiarity with the coaching staff and reports suggest the two sides have a mutual interest.

However, if Brady really wanted to stick it to New England and Bill Belichick, what better way than signing for one of their rivals? The Colts are a team still seething at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' U-turn when he seemed set to become Indy's head coach in 2018.

The Colts have plenty of cap space, a fine roster and could offer Brady the sanctuary of their dome for home games. Yet, it is hard to see Brady winding up at Lucas Oil Stadium given it was the Colts' complaint in the 2014 'Deflategate' scandal that led to the quarterback being suspended.



Fans of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are sure to be among the happiest that Brady is finally leaving the AFC East.

Only what if he does not and Brady takes his talents to South Beach ala LeBron 10 years ago? The Dolphins, awash with cap space, could sign Brady and draft his long-term replacement Tua Tagovailoa to sit behind him and return to fitness.

Brian Flores, the former Patriots defensive coordinator, is the head coach in Miami, but his team are still in the early years of a rebuild - not the type of situation for a 40-something starting QB. Unless he really wants to stick it to Belichick and the Pats....



How about this for a Hollywood ending: The boyhood 49ers fan moves back home and rides off into the sunset after winning a seventh Super Bowl ring.

San Francisco came agonisingly close to winning it all last month only to fall short against the Chiefs, leading to Jimmy Garoppolo's naysayers to raise their concerns about his suitability as a franchise quarterback.

It would be some twist given Garoppolo once backed Brady up and was seen as his heir apparent, though Jimmy G's 2019 performances suggested he should be the present and future for Kyle Shanahan's team.



Could Brady follow in Peyton Manning's footsteps and head to Mile High? Manning won a second ring as a Bronco in a perfect example of a veteran quarterback taking a talented team over the line, even if he was far from his best in Super Bowl 50.

John Elway drafted Drew Lock last year and though he produced some encouraging signs as a rookie, the Broncos head honcho said they would "always talk" to Brady if he became available. Consider them among the wildcards.

Bill Belichick stressed he "will always have a great relationship" with Tom Brady after it was confirmed the quarterback will leave the New England Patriots.

Brady and Belichick enjoyed a hugely successful two-decade run as head coach and quarterback in New England, winning six Lombardi Trophies and reaching the Super Bowl on nine occasions.

Yet while Belichick will be back on the New England sideline in 2020, 42-year-old Brady will be elsewhere having confirmed he will be signing elsewhere in free agency.

There have been murmurings that the two have not always seen eye to eye in recent years, yet Belichick paid a glowing tribute to the outgoing Brady in an official statement from the Patriots.

"Tom was not just a player who bought into our programme, he was one of its original creators," Belichick said.

"Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone setter and a bar raiser. He won championships in three of his first four years on the field and in three of his final six seasons with us, while competing for championships in most every season in between. 

"This is a credit to Tom's consistency and what separates him. He didn't just perform. He didn't just win. He won championships over and over again.

"Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. Tom's success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. 

"Nothing about the end of Tom's Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone's adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.

"Examples of Tom's greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. We witnessed how he prepared when he wasn't playing, how he performed when he got his opportunity, what he did to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he set, and, of course, the person he is. I am extremely grateful for what he did for our team and for me personally.

"Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who, like Belichick, held his post when Brady was drafted in 2000, admitted it had been his wish to see the quarterback retire in New England.

"I love Tom like a son and I always will," Kraft said.

"He has brought so much happiness to me personally and to all of our fans. I had hoped this day would never come, but rather that Tom would end his remarkable career in a Patriots uniform after yet another Super Bowl championship.

"Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality."

Kraft added: "There simply will never be another Tom Brady."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has revealed his disappointment at Tom Brady's departure, but stressed the long-serving quarterback has "earned that right" to decide to move on.

Free agent Brady confirmed on Tuesday that "my football journey will take place elsewhere", bringing an end to a glorious two-decade run in New England that included six Super Bowl titles.

Kraft was the owner when Brady was drafted with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft and he had said earlier this offseason that he hoped the 42-year-old either remained with the Patriots, or retired.

But Kraft will not get his wish, having spoken with Brady on Monday and being informed of his intentions.

"Tommy initiated contact last night and came over," Kraft explained to ESPN.

"We had a positive, respectful discussion.

"It's not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest.

"After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son."

Brady added that he does not "know what my football future holds", though it is thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers will be among those keen to acquire the veteran quarterback in free agency.

Tom Brady - the most successful quarterback in NFL history - has confirmed he will leave the New England Patriots.

Speculation over Brady's future has swirled since the Patriots, with whom he has won a record six Super Bowls, were eliminated from last season's playoffs in the wildcard round by the Tennessee Titans.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday titled 'FOREVER A PATRIOT', the 42-year-old signal caller revealed he will now look to continue his "football journey" elsewhere.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have emerged as the favourites to sign Brady, although the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are also among the many franchises to have been linked with the veteran.

"To all my team-mates, coaches, executives and staff, Coach Belichick, RKK and the Kraft family and the entire organization. I want to say thank you for the past 20 years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values," wrote Brady.

"I am grateful for all that you have taught me - I have learned from everyone. You all have allowed me to maximize my potential and that is all a player can ever hope for. 

"Everything we have accomplished brings me great joy and the lessons I have learned will carry on with me forever. I couldn't be the man I am today without the relationships you have allowed me to build with you.

"I have benefited from all you have given me. I cherished every opportunity I had to be part of our team, and I love you all for that. Our team has always set a great standard in pro sports and I know it will continue to do just that.

"Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything that we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.

"I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to know each and every one of you, and to have the memories we've created together."

After famously being drafted in round six in 2000 as the 199th overall pick, Brady became the Patriots' starting QB in his second season and immediately won Super Bowl XXXVI, also claiming MVP honours.

A further five Super Bowl successes followed, with Brady the MVP in three of the games.

He will leave the Patriots having thrown for 74,571 yards and 541 touchdowns - tallies topped only by Drew Brees in NFL history - in 285 appearances.

In a second Twitter post titled 'LOVE YOU PATS NATION', he added: "I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters.

"MA has been my home for 20 years. It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England.

"The support has been overwhelming - I wish every player could experience it. My children were born and raised here and you always embraced this California kid as your own. I love your commitment and loyalty to your teams and winning for our city means more than you will ever know.

"I can't thank you enough for the support of our team. The packed training camps and sold out stadiums and mostly the victory parades. I have been so blessed to share them with you all.

"I tried to represent us always in the best and most honorable way, and I fought hard with my team-mates to help bring victory and triumph even in the most dire situations. You opened your heart to me, and I opened my heart to you. And Pats Nation will always be a part of me. 

"I don't know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will always love you and what we have shared - a lifetime full of fun memories."

While Brady's Patriots career has been studded with countless highs, one notable low point came with the 'Deflategate' scandal in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, which resulted in him being suspended for four matches following a lengthy investigation involving numerous court rulings.

After two decades as a New England Patriot, Tom Brady will be wearing a different uniform in 2020.

The six-time Super Bowl winner was drafted by the Patriots in 2000 and has played 326 games for New England in the regular season and playoffs.

Yet Brady has not agreed a new deal with the Patriots, who in turn will not apply the franchise tag to their quarterback, and he confirmed on Tuesday that he will continue his "football journey" elsewhere.

The 42-year-old is not alone in being a great quarterback who switched late in his career, though, and here we take a look at others who wound up moving away from the franchises they became synonymous with. 



The Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium is known as 'The House That Peyton Built', such is Manning's standing in the Hoosier State

Manning, the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, took the Colts to the playoffs in 11 of his 13 seasons as the starter, but in 2012 Indy cut ties rather than pay an aging quarterback coming off a succession of neck surgeries a $28million bonus.

The Colts also had the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft which they spent on Andrew Luck, then considered the most sure-fire QB prospect since, well, Manning.

But 'The Sheriff' was not done. In four seasons with the Denver Broncos he twice made the Super Bowl, set NFL single-season records for passing yardage (5,477) and touchdowns thrown (55) and added a second ring at Super Bowl 50, after which he headed off into the sunset.



Brady's childhood hero won four Super Bowl rings across 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, though he would end his career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Montana missed virtually all of 1991 and 1992 with an elbow injury and in 1993, faced with one of the biggest quarterback controversies of all time, the Niners decided to apply their succession plan and stick with reigning MVP Steve Young under center.

So Montana was shipped to Kansas City, where he took the Chiefs to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons before calling it a day.

At the culmination of Montana's final season in 1994, the Niners won their fifth Super Bowl title with Young as the starting signal caller.


Though Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, it was in TitleTown where the gunslinger made his name as he racked up the yards and records across 16 seasons and led the Green Bay Packers to victory at Super Bowl XXXI.

Favre appeared content to bow out in March 2008, when Aaron Rodgers had been identified as his heir apparent, yet things got messy when the veteran performed a retirement U-turn in July.

Green Bay had no interest in trading him to the Minnesota Vikings, their rivals in the NFC North, so Favre was moved to the New York Jets, where he spent one up-and-down season before retiring again.

Yet in 2009 Favre did the unthinkable and signed for the Vikings. Minnesota went all the way to the NFC Championship Game - beating the Packers twice in the regular season along the way - but Father Time appeared to have finally caught up with Favre in the 2010 season and on this occasion his retirement stuck.



While his statistics do not measure up to Brady, Manning et al, Hall of Famer Namath is still one of the most renowned NFL quarterbacks of all time.

His "guarantee" that the underdog New York Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III is etched into NFL folklore.

Away from the gridiron, 'Broadway Joe' was perhaps the NFL's first celebrity and it seemed fitting that he went from the Big Apple to the City of Stars, signing for the Los Angeles Rams in 1977 after he had gone 4-17 as a starter in the previous two seasons.

However, by that point, injuries had taken their toll and Namath's time in the NFL ended with a four-interception outing against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. At least he was in the right place to launch his acting career...

A chapter looks set to be closed on one of the most successful eras in NFL history after the New England Patriots confirmed Tom Brady would hit free agency.

New England certainly got plenty of value from their 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady establishing himself as a franchise quarterback and leading the Pats to six Super Bowl titles.

With the team and their most iconic player now parting ways, we remember Brady's best moments as a Patriot.



Nineteen years ago, the course of the NFL was altered forever when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis delivered a brutal hit on Drew Bledsoe, leaving New England's then starting quarterback with internal bleeding.

The relatively unknown Brady stepped into the breach in Week 2 and led New England all the way to the Super Bowl, keeping his job even after Bledsoe returned to fitness.

Bill Belichick's team were huge underdogs against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, though with 1:21 to play, the Patriots had the ball on their own 17-yard line and the game was tied at 17-17.

New England had no timeouts left and commentator John Madden famously said they should "play for overtime", but a nerveless Brady drove them into field-goal position and Adam Vinatieri did the rest to kick-start a dynasty.


The 2007 season is remembered for the one loss New England had, in Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants, but their incredible campaign certainly deserves to be celebrated.

New England acquired receivers Wes Welker and Randy Moss in the offseason and the Brady-led offense proved unstoppable, the quarterback throwing for an NFL record 50 touchdowns - 22 more than he had previously managed in a campaign.

The Pats went 16-0 in the regular season and Brady won the first of his three MVP awards, but the Giants spoilt an otherwise perfect season in Arizona.



Not enough is made of Brady's remarkable performances in cold weather, and his skill in the snow was especially evident during a 59-0 regular-season rout of the Tennessee Titans in 2009.

In the second quarter alone, Brady set an NFL record for touchdown passes in one quarter as Welker and Moss each caught two apiece and Kevin Faulk hauled in a score as well.

This performance came in his first season back from a serious knee injury that kept him out of virtually the entire 2008 campaign.



Three years after being voted the NFL's best, Brady won the respect of his peers again, only this time everyone was in agreement.

All 50 voters selected Brady as the MVP of the 2010 season and he became the award's first ever unanimous winner.

Consistency was the key for the quarterback as the Pats went 14-2, with Brady completing a record streak of 335 throws without an interception at one point in the season.



Any doubts about Brady's status as the greatest to ever grace the gridiron were surely banished once and for all when he became the first quarterback to win enough rings to furnish one hand.

The Atlanta Falcons were 28-3 up late in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI in Houston, yet Brady, then 39, made history by leading New England to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

James White ran in the winning score in overtime, but it was Brady who walked away with his fourth Super Bowl MVP award after throwing for 466 yards in a 34-28 success.

Tom Brady is set to hit NFL free agency, ending a glorious two-decade run with the New England Patriots.

The 42-year-old quarterback will be out of contract when the new NFL year begins on March 18, meaning for the first time in his illustrious career, he is poised to play elsewhere in 2020.

Here we take a look at Brady's records and statistics from his time as a Patriot.


199th pick - 198 players were selected in the 2000 NFL Draft - including six quarterbacks - before New England took Brady, an unheralded quarterback from the University of Michigan.

326 games - Brady made a total of 326 appearances for the Patriots - 285 in the regular season and 41 in the playoffs - since debuting in 2000. All but two of those appearances have been starts.

249 victories - No other quarterback can compete with Brady's 249 wins as a starter across the regular season and postseason. Drew Brees, with 171, is the next closest.

Six rings - The Patriots made nine Super Bowls during the Brady era. He owns the most Super Bowl victories among all players, one more than Charles Haley and two more than fellow quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

Four Super Bowl MVPs - Brady also leads the way in MVP awards for the big game. Only five players have been named Super Bowl MVP on more than one occasion (Brady, Montana, Bradshaw, Bart Starr and Eli Manning).

14 Pro Bowls - His Super Bowl appearances meant Brady had to miss many of the Pro Bowls he was nominated for, but he holds the record for most nods, along with Tony Gonzalez, Peyton Manning, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen.

45 fourth-quarter comebacks - Peyton Manning may have more fourth-quarter comebacks in the regular season (43 to Brady's 36), yet his great rival has nine in the postseason compared to The Sheriff's two.

58 game-winning drives - In all six of New England's Super Bowl victories, Brady has engineered a game-winning drive. In the regular season, he is behind just Peyton Manning, Brees and Dan Marino in that category.

74,571 yards - Brees is the only signal caller to have thrown for more yards than Brady in the regular season, and the man second on the list is just 2,845 yards behind.

541 passing touchdowns - It's neck and neck between the two in the category of most touchdowns thrown in the regular season, too, with Brees leading the way on 547 scores.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have used their franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett, one of a number of defensive stars to receive the designation on Monday.

After signing a one-year deal with the Bucs during the previous offseason, Barrett shone in Tampa's new 3-4 system, recording a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2019.

The linebacker - whose tally of 37 quarterback hits was also tied for the most in the NFL - has received the non-exclusive tag, meaning he can still negotiate with other teams during free agency.

However, Tampa Bay has the option to match any contract offer the player receives. If they choose not to, they will then receive two first-round picks from the team who signs Barrett.

Bud Dupree has also been tagged by the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning the pass rusher is due to earn an estimated $16.12million for the 2020 season.

Dupree posted 11.5 sacks in 2019, as well as four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Having only joined via a trade from the New York Jets midway through the season, the New York Giants allocated their tag to defensive lineman Leonard Williams. 

The Kansas City Chiefs have used their franchise tag to retain the services of Chris Jones, who has led the team in sacks for the previous two campaigns.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots tagged left guard Joe Thuney, as have the Minnesota Vikings with safety Anthony Harris.

Teams can still negotiate new long-term contracts with those players who have received their franchise tags.

Rob Gronkowski will appear on WWE Smackdown next week as the former NFL star closes in on signing a contract with the sports entertainment company.

Three-time Super Bowl winner Gronkowski retired after helping the New England Patriots to the championship after the 2018 season.

He spent last year as an NFL analyst on FOX and now looks set to do a deal with WWE, with whom he previously appeared at WrestleMania 33 in 2017, assisting his friend Mojo Rawley in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The 30-year-old has been tipped to appear at this year's WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should the event go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

WWE said earlier this week they were close to finalising a deal with Gronkowski, and it was Rawley who broke the news of his Gronkowski's upcoming booking on March 20, which looks likely to precede more regular appearances.

"I talked to Gronk earlier today and I'm here to confirm that the rumours are true, baby," Rawley said on Friday's episode of Smackdown, which was held without fans at the WWE Performance Center in Florida due to COVID-19.

"And whereas nothing is officially signed, what is official is that next week Friday night, live on Smackdown, Rob Gronkowski himself will be in the house. 

"Yes, he will be here. He'll talk about everything that's on his mind. But hey, check this out. Gronk will be here. Mojo will be here. And we're gonna be hyped, so everybody get hyped."

Austin Ekeler is keen for upcoming free agent Tom Brady to sign for the Los Angeles Chargers and spearhead a Super Bowl run.

With no sign of Brady and the New England Patriots agreeing to terms on a new deal, the NFL's most successful quarterback is heading for free agency for the first time in his career.

The 20-year veteran, a six-time Super Bowl champion, is expected to have many suitors if he hits the market, and the quarterback-needy Chargers are likely to be among those interested in the services of Brady, who this week launched a Hollywood production company.

Philip Rivers was released by the Chargers following 16 seasons with the franchise and running back Ekeler feels Brady fits the bill to replace him under center.

"I think it would be amazing to play with Tom Brady," Ekeler said on NFL Total Access.

"I've been playing with Philip and he's like the GOAT in the Chargers organisation for so long, he's the legend there.

"You have Tom Brady on the other side of the country, he's a legend over there so if I got to play with them it would be an amazing opportunity.

"I feel like I would have been able to play with two GOATs of our century.

"Here's why I think it would be a good fit - we just lost a lot of leadership in Philip Rivers, right? So it's like, all right, there's a void there now. 

"Also, Russell Okung, one of our tackles, got traded. He was one of our team leaders as well. So there's a void in leadership right there.

"It's an opportunity for people to step up, but if you bring a guy like Tom Brady in the room, he's been there, done that. He's already got the leadership qualities and he's already proven that he's a winner. So hey, let's build something around that, too."

Ekeler will be returning to the Chargers after reportedly signing a four-year, $24.5million extension following a breakout 2019.

The Chargers, who had a 5-11 record last season and finished bottom of the AFC West, have the 12th-most cap space in the NFL so would seemingly be in a position to make a run at Brady.

Furthermore, with Ekeler, Keenan Allen and potentially Hunter Henry coming back, they also have the offensive weapons 42-year-old Brady would crave.

"I feel like we have the pieces to make a run [at the Super Bowl] regardless," Ekeler added.

"I feel like that void is there, it's going to be filled by somebody. But we just have the talent around him, whoever that person is, to make them successful."

Mike Vrabel insists his FaceTime chat with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady amid heightened free agency speculation was nothing more than "a conversation you would have with your girlfriends".

Discussion over Brady's future as he prepares to hit the open market had already been at fever pitch before he and team-mate Julian Edelman chatted with Vrabel as they attended a Syracuse basketball game.

Tennessee Titans head coach Vrabel led his team to the AFC Championship game in 2019, having won three Super Bowls alongside Brady during his playing days.

Those results last season - which included a playoff win over the Pats - combined with Vrabel and Brady's relationship, has seen Tennessee regularly cited as one of the most likely destinations for Brady this offseason.

The six-time Super Bowl champion would first have to make the seismic decision to halt his partnership with Pats coach with Bill Belichick, which has produced a remarkable dynasty.

And Vrabel insists his friendly conversation with Brady should not be read into in the context of NFL business.

"Well, it would be no different than a conversation you would have with your girlfriends on a weekend," he said to Good Morning Football.

"My relationship goes back to 2001 with Tom Brady - training camp in Rhode Island, at Parente's we'd go to practice and bunch of us would go out to the bar at Parente's after practice and that's where a lot of those friendships were made.

"Those friendships aren't just going to stop or not continue to grow and develop now that I'm a head coach and he's a quarterback with an expiring contract.

"Those are going to continue on well after we're done playing with his family, with my family and having the ability to meet Jules and all those players - there's a special bond that goes on in the locker room and that's not going to stop."

A fascinating offseason is in store for the Titans, with incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill and Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry both on expiring contracts and candidates for the franchise tag after enjoying spectacular campaigns.

"Derrick and Ryan, those two players were a large part of our success," added Vrabel. "They helped us get to where we were.

"It wasn't good enough [to win the Super Bowl] but we always recognise those players who have helped us get to where we are.

"Obviously, the business of football to me is that every day [general manager] Jon Robinson and I are trying to look for players that are younger and cheaper.

"The players in those seats are doing everything that they possibly can to make sure that doesn't happen."

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