Tom Brady Announces Retirement, 'For Good'
Buccaneers QB Tom Brady announced his retirement Wednesday morning. We break down one of the greatest sports careers ever.
Feb 01, 2023, 8:48 AM EST
This time, it sounds like it’s for real.
Tom Brady announced his re-retirement Wednesday morning, going far enough to say “for good.” That caps off a 23-year NFL career that featured seven Super Bowl titles, three NFL MVPs, five Super Bowl MVPs and … well, the accolades would make this a very long paragraph. He’s the all-time wins leader, the all-time passing-yards leader, the all-time pass-TD leader. He put up the third-most passing yards in a season in NFL history (5,316) in 2021, at age 44, then followed it up at age 45 with the single most pass attempts of all-time (733) in 2022.
From a fantasy perspective, Brady had 16 seasons as a top-12 fantasy finisher, including QB1 in 2007, QB2 in 2005 and 2015, and QB3 in 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2021. He is the runaway all-time leader in fantasy scoring, with 5,946.4 career fantasy points, nearly 800 more than second-place Drew Brees.
There’s no real way to competently sum up Tom Brady’s career in a few paragraphs. You could argue that he wasn’t the single best quarterback at any given moment much throughout his career (2007 the very notable exception), but it’s impossible to look at the breadth of his accomplishments and not conclude that his was the best career in NFL history, and not by a small amount. There would have been a hefty market for his services in 2023 had he wanted to continue his career, and saying that about a player who will be 46 by the time Week 1 rolls around is no small statement in itself.
His 2022 team, the Buccaneers, likely already had plans for life without Brady this offseason. The team’s QB depth chart is only Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask now, so unless the Buccaneers believe in Trask more than we’ve had reason to believe so far, the 2023 starter in Tampa is not currently on the roster.
Meanwhile, there were several teams around the league that were rumored to be heavily in on Brady. The Raiders were a popular connection, as were the Jets. Injuries to Brock Purdy and Trey Lance threw the 49ers in the mix, and the situations in Carolina, Tennessee and other places potentially leant themselves to a Brady signing as well. There were even some out there who theorized the possibility of a Patriots reunion. Those are all off the table now, which means those teams are going to have to turn their attention to free agency, the trade market or the draft, heading into a season where guessing at every team’s Week 1 QB starter is about as tough as it’s ever been. The current free agents, including potentially Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones and Geno Smith, as well as lesser names like Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield, and popular trade candidate Derek Carr, should see their markets heat up with the news that Brady is out.
But that’s for later this offseason. Right now, it’s time for a farewell to the best quarterback the league has ever seen. Assuming Brady doesn’t unretire again, as he did last year (and that seems probable, given the conclusive sound of Wednesday’s announcement), he rides off into the sunset holding every major record at the quarterback position, with no candidate on the horizon who could realistically threaten those records. They don’t make many Tom Bradys, and they aren’t likely to make many again.