The Retirement of Bucs and Brady: The Implications of the Cap
Now that Tom Brady has officially retired (again).all eyes are on what the Bucs will do next as they prepare for 2023. The implications of Brady’s retirement come down to two options for the Bucs and general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg.
Working with Brady Bucs can reduce his cap hit
If Brady is so inclined, he may agree to delay the processing of his retirement papers beyond June 1, while also signing a non-guaranteed temporary contract to keep him “with the team” until then.
Okay, what to do if Brady leaves. I believe when he retires he will work with the team so they can post him 6/1. This means his cap hit will go from $35.1 million to $10.8 million in ’23, clearing $24.3 million. However, they would still be on the hook in ’24 for that $24.3 million.
— Joshua Queipo (@josh_queipo) January 17, 2023
That contract would allow Tampa Bay to keep Brady on the roster until the start of the league year, and more importantly, until the first wave of free agency, capped at just $11,941,000.
After June 1, Brady was able to handle his retirement paperwork with the league. At that point, the placeholder salary would drop, leaving the Bucs with just $10,776,000 dead cap to pay in 2023.
With the way the salary cap has increased each year from the 2020 Covid season (the salary cap just increased from $208.2 million in 2022 to $224.8 million this coming year), this should allow the team to dead cap hit easier to manage.
This turn of events would be similar to what Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints did it after the 2020 season when Brees retired.
What happens if Brady processes his retirement immediately?
If Brady does not agree to the above plan, the Bucs will be responsible for the entirety of his $35,104,000 dead cap this year. With the team currently estimated to be $55 million over the cap per overthecap.com, this would certainly be the team’s least preferred course of action. However, given the reportedly good relationship between Brady and the Glazer family, this also seems like the least likely outcome.
Whichever route the Bucs and Brady choose, we’ll know soon enough. The new league year for the NFL is March 15 at 4 p.m., and the Bucs must be cap-compliant at the start of the league. That means they need to know how to justify Brady’s retirement by then.
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