Colin Cowherd: "I was told 35 minutes ago that Tom Brady signs tomorrow with Tampa Bay. He had made a decision and talked to Tampa Bay yesterday. He was willing to re-sign with New England but he watched Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins go to other franchises and then called Robert Kraft an hour and a half later and said ‘I’M OUT’… I am told Tampa is the choice and he will sign tomorrow... This is not a 'football source', it is a ‘Icon source', and somebody in Tom’s stratosphere that knows Tom, and who is a famous person. He says Tampa."
Most shocking sports story of our lives?
The future of the most famous free agent in NFL history appears to be nearing its climax as six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady officially told the New England Patriots on Tuesday morning that he will not be returning for his 21st season in Foxboro.
Colin Cowherd says he has a source close with Brady who told Colin that Brady has made a decision and will be signing with the Tampa Bay Bucs tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18th) when free agency officially begins at 4pm ET.
Although Tampa Bay has one of the better rosters in the league on paper when you consider their elite wide receiving corps, coupled with a budding front-seven that could be one of the best in football, their secondary has been absolute mess the past few seasons, and their offensive line yielded the most sacks in the league last year.
Their defense allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league by a wide margin, highlighted by linebacker Shaq Barrett leading the NFL in sacks, but also ranked third to last in passing yards allowed.
Linebacker Devin White and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting both made the NFL All-Rookie Team last season.
Tampa Bay hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, and hasn't won a playoff game since they won Super Bowl XXXVII in January of 2003. Since they defeated the Oakland Raiders in that game, the franchise has gone an ugly 107-165.
Reports last week had been speculating that the Bucs were 'All In' on pursuing Brady in free agency, and the sportsbooks had have taken notice, with Tampa Bay emerging as the heavy betting favorite to land the quarterback legend, according to Fox Bet.
After Brady made his farewell to Patriots fans on Twitter, Fox Bet listed the Bucs at -175 to land Brady, with the Raiders the next closest team at +500.
The Chargers and Buccaneers have reportedly both made offers to Brady for $30 million per year.
The Buccaneers have long been rumored to be heavily involved in the sweepstakes for Brady as their relationship with former no. 1 pick Jameis Winston became more disillusioned as the notorious 2020 free agent quarterback market progressed.
Despite interest from the Chargers, Colts, Bears, Raiders, and Panthers, Tampa Bay could potentially offer Brady the most talented group of pass-catchers in the league, with All-Pro caliber wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin joining Pro Bowl caliber tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.
Evans, 26, is only the second receiver in NFL history (Randy Moss) to amass six-straight 1,000-receiving yard seasons to begin his career.
Godwin, 24, made second-team All-Pro last season, and finished 3rd in the league in receiving yards despite missing the final two games with a hamstring injury.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has long been celebrated as a coaching maverick when it comes to the quarterback position and has worked with NFL greats the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck.
Despite Arians raving about Winston's potential last off-season and saying he wanted to come out of retirement to work with a unique talent like Jameis, Arians has not put his arms around Winston off-season.
In December, Arians made comments saying the Bucs could win 'with or without' Jameis, and in February Arians said the team wanted to see 'what was behind door number 2' when it came to deciding who would be their starting quarterback in 2020.
Winston’s career has been nothing short of fascinating to this point. In 2013, Winston became the youngest player in NCAA history to win the Heisman trophy for an undefeated Florida State Seminoles team that broke the NCAA record for points scored in a season. He would end his college career with a 26-1 record before being taken no. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the same general manager, Jason Licht, who has been hot on the trail of Brady all month.
Winston made the Pro Bowl his rookie season, became the second-youngest player to eclipse the 10,000 career passing yards plateau (Drew Bledsoe), and was the first player to ever throw for 4,000+ yards in his first two professional seasons.
Winston is 28-42 as a starter for the Bucs and had just one season over .500, when the team went 9-7 during his second season in 2016. The Bucs would miss the playoffs via tie-breaker to the Detroit Lions for the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs.
In 2019, Winston led the NFL in passing yards and became just the 8th player in league history to throw for over 5,000 yards. During one red hot stretch late in the season Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450+ yards in back-to-back games.
Despite the volume passing numbers, Winston became the first player to ever throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season, and his 7 ‘pick sixes’ were the most in NFL history.
On Monday, Winson made an Instagram post with the caption simply reading 'smile'.
Notable athletes have long used their social media pages to post encrypted messages concerning their convoluted statuses with their franchises, and the timing of Winston's post surely appeared like it had something to do with his ongoing negotiations, or lack thereof, with Tampa.
Winston turned 26 in early January. He underwent LASIK surgery in the offseason to fix his poor eyesight, and also underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus from a knee injury that he suffered midway through the season. Winston played with a fractured thumb on his throwing hand for the final 3 weeks of the season and has been seen wearing a cast.
Twitter is already working its magic for the unprecedented news. (Warning: Language NSFW)