Tom Brady took to Instagram and Twitter on Tuesday morning to post a lengthy note captioned “FOREVER A PATRIOT”. He thanked the fans, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick for their role in his 20-year career in New England and informed the world that he wouldn’t be returning to the Pats this season.
By Tuesday night it was already being reported by countless outlets that Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL, intended to sign a deal worth abouth $30 million per year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the upcoming season.
The immediate impact on the Patriots is obvious. The NFL’s most successful franchise of the last 20 years loses its cornerstone player and will spend the rest of the offseason looking for his replacement.
Brady is now added to the list of offseason departures for New England, alongside Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton and others.
New England’s presumptive stranglehold on the AFC East looks to be loosening a bit, as the upstart Bills begin to build off this year’s playoff appearance and the rest of the division continues to improve.
As a result, the Pats’ odds to win the division have shifted. At DraftKings, the Patriots started Tuesday with -278 odds to win the AFC East and were -110 by Wednesday morning. Bet365 is offering the best odds on New England to win the division at +110.
But what does this mean for Brady and the Buccaneers?
For starters, Brady goes from an offense almost completely void of real weapons in New England to one that boasts a pair of talented wide receivers.
Mike Evans is probably the best wide receiver Tom Brady will have thrown the ball to since Randy Moss’ time in New England came to a close in 2010. Evans is coming off a season in which he caught 67 passes for 1157 yards and eight touchdowns in just 13 games and has never had fewer than 1000 yards receiving in a season in his six-year NFL career.
Add Chris Godwin to the mix, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season on his way to a Pro-Bowl appearance, and it’s easy to see why bettors are excited about the prospect of the Buccaneers in 2020-2021.
The Tampa Bay win total is set at 9 right now, and while I worry about a potentially tough schedule, the Buccaneers went 7-9 in 2019 as their starting quarterback threw 30 interceptions. At the very least, Brady will do a better job holding onto the ball.
As far as a division championship is concerned, I’d hold off before backing Tampa. The Saints are still the best team in the NFC South and there is almost no value in taking the Bucs, as Tuesday morning’s +500 odds shortened to +170 on DraftKings following the news of Brady's reported signing.
Take the over nine wins, but don’t bother with backing Tampa for a division crown. They’re still a fair distance behind New Orleans.