TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an extremely talented front office when it comes to manipulating the salary cap. If you need any proof, just remember the organization brought back all 22 of its starters from a Super Bowl-winning team.
The Tom Brady retirement announcement creates question marks entering next season on and off the field. For more on who the quarterback might be next season for the Bucs, you can click here.
As for the yucky behind-the-scenes stuff, let's delve into it a little bit. If Brady retires before June 2, the team would incur a $32 million cap hit in dead money. Without getting into the specifics, just know Tampa Bay would struggle mightily to bring back certain players with this sort of figure on the books.
If the Bucs and Brady wait until June 2, the team can move Brady to the reserve/retire list and that cap hit would spread across two seasons. That's important because the NFL salary cap will rise dramatically in 2023.
If Tampa Bay can find a way to wiggle through the 2022 season unscathed, the hit next year will be more digestible.
Even though Brady left the door open to returning on this week's episode of his "Let's Go!" podcast, do not read into this June 2 date for more than what it is.
It is a clerical deadline.
Of course, Brady can pull a Brett Favre and suit up again in the fall, but we will cross that bridge when it comes. By putting Brady on the reserve/retire list, that means the Bucs hold his rights. So, if Brady wants to play again, Tampa Bay would be his team unless the Bucs trade him. We saw this with Rob Gronkowski not so long ago.
The Buccaneers are so appreciative Brady chose the Bucs, they would do anything he wants, but Brady also knows the Buccaneers did whatever he wanted, as well. It's tough to think he would want to leave Tampa Bay unless it is clear and obvious the franchise is not in a position to win a Super Bowl.
General manager Jason Licht and company have about four weeks to prepare for NFL free agency and they have to prepare for life without Brady, even if he remains on the roster until June.