Tom Brady is ditching New England for greener pastures. Likely warmer ones, too.
Will it be Tampa Bay or Los Angeles?
Brady announced his departure from the Patriots on Tuesday after 20 years and six Super Bowl victories, and now all eyes are on where he goes next. The 42-year-old left that part out of his long adieu on social media, but the betting favorites are the Buccaneers and the Chargers.
Both teams have indicated they have yet to hear from Brady since the Patriots announcement.
“We’re waiting to see what Tom decides just like everybody else,” Buccaneers GM Jason Licht told ESPN.com.
Here’s how the two options are looking for TB12:
Los Angeles Chargers
— Los Angeles is the big market that Brady could cherish. Hollywood is nearby, and it would set up Brady — who just launched a production company earlier this month — and his brand for his post-football days in the land of celebrities.
— The Chargers are built to win now. They went 5-11 last season, but the year before that, they went 12-4 before falling to Brady in the AFC divisional round. Their defense is legit, too, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram disruptive as pass rushers and Casey Hayward and Derwin James in the secondary.
— How about these targets? After years of the Patriots failing to surround him with top-flight offensive weapons, the Chargers can offer Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at receiver and Hunter Henry at tight end. Brady would also have veteran Russell Okung protecting his blindside at left tackle.
— The Chargers are opening a new stadium in 2020. Brady, a California native, can be the face of their new journey in Los Angeles, which would surely come with more marketing opportunities for the savvy TB12.
— The AFC West is not the AFC East. Brady is used to being king in his division after years of beating up on the Jets, Dolphins and Bills. But there’s already a stud Super Bowl champ atop the Chargers’ division: Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
— The West Coast is a long way from New York City, where one of his sons lives with Bridget Moynahan. Brady reportedly would like to be close to NYC, but Los Angeles might make that commute tougher.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— The Buccaneers can open up their checkbook and let Brady fill in the blanks. They entered the offseason flush in cap space and have reportedly already offered him $30 million or more per year, according to NFL Network.
— More weapons. When is the last time Brady had targets like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? They were both 1,000-yard receivers last year and are a formidable duo, not to mention tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.
— Bill Belichick was a defensive mastermind, but Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Buccaneers, is known for loving a high-flying offense and letting his quarterbacks air it out. Think Brady might have some fun in that system?
— Buccaneers fans have watched Jameis Winston under center the past five years. Even if Brady loses a step at age 43 and throws a few more interceptions, he will still be that much more consistent than the guy he’s replacing.
— If Brady is looking for a big market for his brand, Tampa Bay is … not that.
— The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl in 2002, but they have not made the playoffs since 2007. Brady could be the hero that comes in and changes that, but they are not exactly a winning franchise like the one Brady has known for the past 20 years, going 71-121 since their last postseason berth.