Wed Feb 1 5:56pm ET
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Columnist
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks on during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLII football game against the New York Giants at University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 3, 2008 in Glendale, Ariz. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over, by posting a brief video lasting just under one minute on social media. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, file)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after passing to Danny Woodhead for a touchdown during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game against the New York Giants, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over, by posting a brief video lasting just under one minute on social media. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wipes the sweat from his head during an NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass., July 30, 2015. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over, by posting a brief video lasting just under one minute on social media. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes the ball as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (1) applies pressure during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., on Dec. 11, 2022. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over. He leaves the NFL with more wins, yards passing and touchdowns than any other quarterback. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Oct. 7, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over. He leaves the NFL with more wins, yards passing and touchdowns than any other quarterback. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over. He leaves the NFL with more wins, yards passing and touchdowns than any other quarterback. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, and quarterback Tom Brady celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl winner with New England and Tampa Bay, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 exactly one year after first saying his playing days were over. He leaves the NFL with more wins, yards passing and touchdowns than any other quarterback. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)
In a perfect world - and so much of Tom Brady's career was as close to perfection as a football player can get - the first retirement would've stuck.
He certainly did nothing to enhance his legacy by returning for another season. And, of course, we'll never know if that regrettable decision cost him his marriage, as well.
But Brady's farewell year - he announced his retirement again on Wednesday, and this time insisted that he means it - will quickly fade from our collective memories, overwhelmed by the enormity of his accomplishments over an unprecedented career.
The seven Super Bowl titles. The three MVP awards. The five Super Bowl MVP awards. The certain spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The unquestioned legacy as the greatest quarterback ever to toss a pigskin.
And Brady being Brady, even his final season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - the one he never should've come back for at age 45 - was hardly an embarrassment.
Yes, he presided over a team with a losing record for the first time in his 23-year career. (Let that one sink in for a moment. One losing season in more than two decades as an NFL quarterback. Simply amazing.)
Yes, he did get embarrassed in the playoffs after the Bucs snuck in only because a geographical anomaly gifted them a division title they hardly deserved.
But this wasn't Willie Mays or Joe Namath or Muhammad Ali at the end of their careers, pitiable shells of their former greatness.
Tampa Bay was terrible on offense, but it was hardly Brady's fault. Playing behind a line that had more leaks than a rickety old garden hose, he broke his own, year-old NFL record for most completions in a season with 490, and eclipsed another league mark with 733 passes thrown.
Only five other times in his career did Brady throw for more yards than this season's 4,694. A 66.8% completion rate also was among the best he's ever put up.
He wasn't at the top of the game anymore, but he wasn't that far off. NFL.com ranked him No. 11 among the league's 32 primary starting QBs at the end of the regular season, which seems an appropriate spot.
Brady could've gone deep one time, looking to connect on a desperation pass that might've given him a shot at a more appropriate ending: an eighth Super Bowl ring. There were some teams that might've been interested, perhaps even the San Francisco 49ers.
The team that reached the NFC championship game despite losing three quarterbacks to major injuries certainly has the talent everywhere else to make another run at the Super Bowl.
A one-off with Brady might've slowed the development of Trey Lance and Brock Purdy, but it would've made the 49ers a clear Super Bowl favorite next season. For good measure, it would've given Brady a chance to close his career not far from where he grew up in the Bay Area.
But we'll never know if such a scenario was ever realistic. With a 50-second video posted to social media on the one-year anniversary of his first retirement, Brady called it a career.
This time, he insisted, it's gonna stick.
''Good morning guys. I'll get to the point right away. I'm retiring,'' he said, nodding his head slightly. ''For good.''
He chided himself a bit for the hoopla that surrounded his 2022 decision, which he reversed 40 days later.
''I know the process was a pretty big deal last time,'' Brady said. ''So when I woke up this morning, I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first. I won't be long-winded. You only get one super-emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year.''
The saddest part of Brady's final season was not the results on the field, but what happened away from the gridiron.
In late October, amid tabloid talk that Gisele Bundchen was livid at her husband for going back on his decision to retire, the couple finalized a divorce to their 13-year marriage.
They seem on good terms now.
Bundchen posted a comment to her ex-husband's video on Instagram that said, ''Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life.'' She tacked on a praying hands emoji. He added pictures of Bundchen and their children to his post.
No need to fret for the G.O.A.T.
Brady has already lined up an extremely lucrative landing for his post-playing career, agreeing last year to a staggering 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as a Fox game analyst.
It will be intriguing to see if he can bring the same brilliance and insight to the broadcast booth, especially when he rarely said anything all that interesting as a player.
Not to mention, his arrival is sure to stir up a bit of drama since Fox's current lead analyst, Greg Olsen, has quickly gone from stopgap to one of the best of the business.
But never bet against the guy who went from a sixth-round draft pick to the best there's ever been.
''Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream,'' Brady concluded in his retirement video, his voice quivering. ''I wouldn't change a thing.''
Not even a final season that didn't go as planned.
As with all things Brady, it might be the best performance we'll ever see by a past-their-prime athlete who should've stayed retired.
Championship Round Preview
Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the team is committed to quarterback Dak Prescott long term and are open to extending his contract. Prescott is currently under contract with the Cowboys through the 2026 season, but the Cowboys aren't ruling out extending him further this offseason. The bottom line is that Prescott isn't going anywhere. The 29-year-old signal-caller just wrapped up his seventh season in the NFL and finished with a 66.2% completion percentage, 2,860 yards, 23 touchdowns and a career-high 15 interceptions in only 12 regular season games due to a broken right hand suffered early in the year. He should bounce back in 2023 with better health, but Prescott will also be working with a new offensive coordinator.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol, according to sources. He met with several medical professionals in the process, and they are confident that he'll be 100 percent when the time comes for football this offseason. Tagovailoa suffered his second concussion of 2022 on Christmas Day and missed the rest of the regular season and the team's only playoff game. The 24-year-old won't play in the Pro Bowl either, but he should be ready to go for the start of the 2023 season. The Dolphins remain committed to Tagovailoa despite the fact that he's never played a full season in his first three years. Despite two concussions in 2022, he had a career year with 3,548 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games. Tagovailoa should be in the low-end QB1 conversation heading into next season.
New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen said contract negotiations haven't started yet with impending free-agent quarterback Daniel Jones, but also said, "we want Daniel back." If the Giants want Jones back, they're going to have to pay a decent price after the 25-year-old had the most impressive season of his young career in 2022 under first-year head coach Brian Daboll. He posted a career-high 67.2% completion percentage, career-high 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns and career-low five interceptions in 16 regular season games while also going for a career-high 708 rushing yards and seven TDs on 120 carries. Jones' TD and yardage numbers don't stand out, but he did more than enough to convince the Giants that he deserves to stick around as their starting QB.
New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty (shoulder) is recovering from shoulder surgery this offseason, according to league sources. Despite his shoulder injury, McCourty was an iron man, playing 97.2 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2022. The 35-year-old veteran has been with New England his entire career and just finished his 13th NFL season. McCourty finished with 71 tackles (54 solo), four interceptions, eight passes defensed and a fumble recovery in 17 games played. He's believed to have suffered the shoulder injury back in Week 14, but he didn't miss a single snap to close out the regular season. It's not a surprise that McCourty could decide to retire this offseason.
Texas running back Roschon Johnson (hand) broke a bone in his hand at the beginning of practice during an impressive first day at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, according to a source. Johnson played through the injury, but he is unlikely to be able to participate for the rest of the week. He is a potential Day 2 pick in this year's NFL draft. The 22-year-old will lose out on the chance to impress NFL scouts this weekend during the Senior Bowl, and it's unclear if his broken hand will keep him from taking part in the combine. Johnson was the backup to first-round candidate Bijan Robinson in 2022, but he could still be very attractive to NFL teams in this year's draft that are looking for solid running back depth.
The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receivers Dazz Newsome and Tay Martin, defensive lineman Alex Barrett, offensive linemen Alfredo Gutierrez, Keith Ismael, Jason Poe and Leroy Watson, safety Tayler Hawkins, defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight and linebacker Curtis Robinson to Reserve/Futures deals on Tuesday. Newsome, 23, joined the team's practice squad in November after he was taken by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round in 2021. He was not active at all for San Fran in 2022 after playing in three games for the Bears in his rookie season. Martin, 25, was active in Week 8 and Week 17 but played only one offensive snap for the 49ers in 2022.
The Chicago Bears have decided to move forward with quarterback Justin Fields as their franchise signal-caller and will attempt to trade the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft instead of drafting a QB prospect. Fields impressed the organization with how he played and handled the 2022 season in just his second NFL campaign. He missed two games due to injury and had his ups and downs, but he really took a big step forward and finished with 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 60.4% completion percentage in 15 games. Fields really impressed with his legs, racking up 1,143 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 160 carries. If the Bears can give the 23-year-old better weapons in the passing attack, Fields could continue to improve. Because of his elite rushing ability alone, he'll be in the QB1 conversation in 2023 in fantasy.
Dynasty | Michael Gallup underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in his right knee Dynasty Analysis: In addition, he also had his right ankle scoped. Neither procedure is expected to sideline Gallup for long and he should be able to participate in the team's spring workout program. Following an ACL tear that ended his 2021 campaign, Gallup appeared in 14 games in 2022, amassing a 39/424/4 line. A statistically down season following ACL repair is not unexpected and expectations remain for the receiver to assume the WR2 role behind CeeDee Lamb in 2023. Gallup is listed as DLF's WR49 and turns 27 in March.
Dynasty | Geno Smith would carry a $32.4M franchise tag amount should the Seahawks choose to tag him. Dynasty Analysis: All signs point to the team tagging Smith while drafting a rookie to start in 2024, but it's not out of the question the team agrees to a short-term deal with the veteran to keep him in the Emerald City for more than a single season. Smith came out of nowhere in 2022 to break the team's single-season passing record and likely earned the right to remain under-center to start in 2023. Found as DLF's QB21, the 32-year-old breathed new life into his career but his age and risk-on situation both work to limit his dynasty upside unless he signs a big-dollar long-term contract to remain in Seattle.
Dynasty | Tom Brady announced his retirement Dynasty Analysis: In the short but emotional video post on Twitter, the GOAT hangs it up, and this time it sounds very final. The announcement is not altogether unsurprising though many close to him suggested that he'd return for one more season. Without question, Tom Brady exits the game as the greatest player to ever play. He's safe to drop in all leagues and formats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady announced his retirement Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Brady wanted to play until he was 45, and he did just that and took most of the major records for quarterbacks with him. The Bucs will face the decision of either rebuilding or getting a veteran stopgap to try to make another run in a weak NFC for the next couple of years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. He played 23 seasons and won seven Super Bowls, six with the Patriots and one with the Bucs. The 45-year-old finishes his career with 89,214 passing yards, 649 touchdowns, and 212 interceptions over 335 games. He holds the record for passing touchdowns, passing yards, completions, wins, and quarterback starts. The GOAT announced his retirement last year on February 1st, 2022, but after 40 days unretired, and returned to the Bucs for one more season. He showed no signs of slowing down at age 45, throwing for 4,694 yards and a 25:9 TD: INT ratio over 17 games in 2022. Brady is the GOAT and an absolute NFL legend. Now that Brady's football career is over, he signed a 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox Sports to be an on-air lead NFL analyst. Tampa Bay is in rebuild mode without Brady and will start the quarterback search to replace the GOAT in 2023.
Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales will receive a second interview for the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator position, according to a source. Canales has emerged as front-runner to replace Greg Roman as Baltimore's offensive coordinator in 2023. The 41-year-old was instrumental in Geno Smith's Pro Bowl campaign in 2022 with Seattle. With quarterback Lamar Jackson likely to get the franchise tag this year, Canales would have the pleasure of working with one of the best dual-threat QBs in the NFL. Canales has never been an offensive coordinator beyond the high school level, though, working mostly as a receivers coach, a position he held in his first seven seasons with the Seahawks. He is the longest-tenured assistant on head coach Pete Carroll's staff and has been with Seattle for 13 seasons.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to receive the exclusive franchise tag from the organization. The former first round pick is set to be a free agent this summer, but that likely won't happen. The sense around the league is that the Ravens will tag Jackson and keep him around for at least one more season. The two sides couldn't agree on an extension earlier in the year, but a franchise tag gives the two of them more time to work out a deal. It seems unlikely that Baltimore is going to let Jackson leave without getting something in return for him.
The Denver Broncos have finalized a deal to acquire head coach Sean Payton from the New Orleans Saints. In exchange, the Saints will receive a first and second-round pick from Denver. This doesn't seem like much of a surprise considering Payton has been on their radar for awhile. The Broncos were heavily pursuing DeMeco Ryans before he took the head coach job with the Houston Texans. After that, the Broncos went with their backup plan which was Payton. The 59-year-old Super Bowl winning coach should be able to give this Broncos team a boost. The biggest task for Payton is going to be to try and revive Russell Wilson after his horrendous 2022 campaign.
The Denver Broncos finalized a deal Tuesday, Jan. 31, with the New Orleans Saints to acquire former head coach Sean Payton, according to a source. The Broncos agreed to send a 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2024 second-round draft pick in exchange for Sean Payton and a 2024 third-round pick.
The Denver Broncos are finalizing compensation with the New Orleans Saints in return for former head coach Sean Payton, according to a source Tuesday, Jan. 31. The compensation includes Denver sending a 2023 first-round draft pick and an early pick in 2024.
The New York Jets signed wide receiver/kick returner Diontae Spencer to a Reserve/Futures deal on Tuesday. Spencer spent some time on the Jets' practice squad in 2022 but never made it to the active roster on game day. The 30-year-old went undrafted out of McNeese State in 2019 and spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, catching 10 of 18 targets for 54 yards and no touchdowns in 42 games (to starts). He also returned 68 punts for 667 yards and one touchdown and returned 47 kickoffs for 1,008 yards with Denver. Spencer will serve as additional receiver depth for the Jets in 2023.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (ankle, leg) said he's three to four weeks from being fully cleared for practice and said he'll be 100 percent healthy for organized team activities this offseason. Lance fractured his fibula and sustained ligament damage in his right ankle in Week 2 and didn't play again the rest of the season. Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) is a free agent and Brock Purdy (elbow) will miss around six months after tearing the UCL in his right elbow in the NFC Championship. If Lance doesn't suffer any setbacks leading up to the 2023 regular season opener, he figures to be the favorite to start under center for the Niners, barring an outside veteran addition at the position.
Dynasty | Robert Woods is a likely cap casualty for the Titans Dynasty Analysis: Woods is entering his age-31 season and was returning from an ACL tear before turning in a disappointing 2022 campaign. The numbers just aren't justified for a team looking to get younger and the likelihood is for the veteran to seek employment elsewhere unless he's willing to take a pay cut to remain in Tennessee. Woods is found as DLF's WR81 and is fading quickly.