Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, saying he is embarking on a “new football journey”.
The 42-year-old quarterback who spent the first 20 years of his career with the New England Patriots announced his decision Friday in an Instagram post and thanked the Bucs for the opportunity.
The deal is worth $30m per season.
“Excited, humble and hungry … If there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that,” Brady wrote.
The signing comes three days after Brady announced on social media that he would not return to New England, ending his historic run with the Patriots.
He joins an offense that led the NFL in passing yards last season, featuring a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, and a young, developing running back in Ronald Jones.
What the Bucs didn’t have in 2019, when they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 12th straight season was a quarterback who protected the football.
Brady, who turns 43 in August, will be counted on to change that.
The three-time league MVP is coming off what generally is regarded as the worst non-injury season of his career, throwing for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his final season with the Patriots.
Still, New England won 12 games before a sputtering offense was held to 13 points in a first-round playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Jameis Winston, meanwhile, was a turnover machine with Tampa Bay, leading the league with 5,109 passing yards while also becoming the first “30-30” player in NFL history with 33 TD passes and 30 interceptions.
Opponents returned a league-record seven interceptions for touchdowns last season. Winston also lost five fumbles, with opponents converting his combined 35 turnovers into 112 points.
“It’s not a talent issue, it’s a performance issue … turning the ball over,” Arians said after the season, summing up why the Bucs, who scored a franchise-best 458 points in 2019, were unable to end their long playoff drought.
Elsewhere, a person familiar with the deal says the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a one-year deal with three-time Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley,
The person told the Associated Press about the agreement on Friday on condition of anonymity because the deal will not be official until Gurley passes a physical. The league isn’t allowing players to report to new teams immediately for those physicals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gurley will be making a return to the state of Georgia. He was a standout at the University of Georgia, rushing for more than 3,000 yards in three seasons.
The agreement with the 25-year-old Gurley comes less than a week after the Falcons released running back Devonta Freeman. Atlanta ranked only 30th in the NFL in rushing in 2019 and are hoping for a significant boost from Gurley.
Gurley was released by the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, minutes before $10.5m in his contract became fully guaranteed.
Gurley has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three of his five seasons with the Rams. He ran for 857 yards in 15 games with the Rams last season. His average of 3.8 yards per carry was the second-lowest of his career.
Gurley, a 2015 first-round pick, signed a four-year, $60m contract with the Rams in June 2018, making him the league’s highest-paid running back at the time. The deal included $45m in guaranteed earning. Gurley was cut before even playing the first year of that extension.
The agreement with Gurley is the second significant move of free agency for the Falcons. The team addressed another pressing need by agreeing to a $48m, three-year deal with outside linebacker Dante Fowler on Wednesday. Fowler is expected to boost the team’s pass rush, a chronic weak spot.
Also on Friday, the Buffalo Bills announced acquiring receiver Stefon Diggs in a multi-draft-pick trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
The trade was agreed to Monday, and announced by both teams Friday.
The Vikings acquired four draft picks, including Buffalo’s first-round choice (22nd overall), giving them five of the top 105 picks in this year’s draft. Minnesota also acquired Buffalo’s fourth- and fifth-round picks this year, and a fourth-round selection in 2021.
Buffalo also acquired the Vikings’ seventh-round pick as part of the deal to provide the Josh Allen-led offense a primary deep threat it has been previously missing. Diggs joins an established group of receivers rounded out by John Brown and Cole Beasley.
The 26-year-old Diggs has topped 1,000 yards receiving each of his past two years. Last year, he had a career-best 1,130 yards receiving and ranked fourth in the NFL in averaging 17.9 yards per catch.
He was also responsible for perhaps the most famous play in Vikings history: a last-gasp 61-yard touchdown reception as time expired to defeat the New Orleans Saints in a 2017 NFC divisional playoff game.
Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen welcomed the trade with a tweet that read: “Ya Digg?”
Diggs responded by writing: “LETS GET IT.”
Another Minnesota player was allowed to walk as star defensive end Everson Griffen said he will not re-sign with the team.
Griffen and his agent announced Friday they were unable to come to terms with the Vikings due to the team’s salary-cap constraints. Griffen is the longest-tenured player on the team, having played 10 seasons in purple. He had eight sacks in 2019.
Minnesota defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander have already chosen other teams.
The Denver Broncos continued an impressive offseason haul Friday by agreeing to a two-year deal with former Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon.
A person with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press that it’s worth $16m with all but $2.5m guaranteed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal weren’t revealed.
The Broncos didn’t announce the deal but did tweet a clip of King Features comic strip character Flash Gordon, which is their new running back’s nickname.
Although his new deal is less than the $10m annually that Gordon turned down from the Chargers during an unsuccessful holdout for a long-term extension last season, it does allow him the opportunity to face his old team twice a year and to hit free agency again in 2022 at age 28.
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