Update: Reports are now surfacing that Brady has not made an official decision yet (3:30PM CST 1/29/22)
The Bucs got what they wanted out of Brady, and he from them. Brady won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay last year, beating Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now, the NFC likely has one-less playoff team to worry about — opening the door for the Bears.
But, that’s not the immediate reason this retirement affects a team like Chicago. With Brady retiring, that means there will be some significant offensive free agents who may choose to sign elsewhere.
With Tom Brady retiring, the Chicago Bears now have a much greater shot at signing a free agent like Chris Godwin.
One of Brady’s go-to receivers for the past two seasons has been Chris Godwin. Along with Mike Evans, Godwin has been as dependable as they come. The duo may be the most prolific pairing of receivers Brady has ever worked with. Sure, Randy Moss on his own was better, no doubt.
But, now the Bucs might have a difficult time trying to bring Godwin back for future seasons. Last season, Godwin played under the franchise tag. Unfortunately, his season ended with an ACL tear late in the year. He will enter free agency in March and, quite possibly, may end up making less money than he would have pre-injury.
Maybe, the injury doesn’t mean a whole lot, though. It didn’t mean much when Allen Robinson endured the same exact injury. The Bears still signed him to a fairly rich contract four years ago.
Even if the Bucs offered Godwin a multi-year deal, he would have a whole lot of uncertainty at the quarterback position without Brady.
In Chicago, though, Godwin would know exactly who is leading the team under center. It’s Justin Fields’ team — and a receiver like Godwin would be the perfect addition for the second-year quarterback.
Over the past three seasons with Tampa, specifically, Godwin has broken out as one of the better receivers in football. The 25-year-old has amassed 249 receptions for 3,276 yards and 21 touchdowns during that span.
Godwin, alongside Darnell Mooney, would instantly give Fields a top-10 duo in football.
It’s not just Godwin who might choose to sign with another team, though. Tampa has a couple other key free agents who could help the Bears.
Center Ryan Jensen and tight end O.J. Howard are both unrestricted free agents as well, and both would be tremendous additions to the Bears.
Without Brady, the Bucs are going to have a difficult time bringing back some of their top offensive free agents. Their direction is now muddled, while the Bears are establishing a clear vision under new general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus.