The fate of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have been much different in 2020.
When Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason, naturally it was seen as the most significant free-agent signing since Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos in 2012. Everyone knew that the landscape of the NFL was going to be changed, and luckily the Buccaneers were fortunate enough to turn Tampa Bay into Tompa Bay.
What if Tom Brady didn’t sign though? It can be fun to explore alternate realities and that’s what we’re going to do.
Amazingly, there were really only two teams that seemed like realistic destinations for Brady, the Buccaneers, and the Los Angeles Chargers. For this deep dive into the multiverse, let’s say that Brady ended up with the Bolts. The NFL landscape certainly changes because all of a sudden the Chargers are suddenly the most relevant team in not only Los Angeles, but the NFL as a whole. With that being the case, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown don’t sign with the Buccaneers without Brady. They do, however, follow him to Los Angeles, making the Chargers an even bigger draw, and Super Bowl threat.
With Brady donning the admittedly flawless powder blues, that leaves the Buccaneers with a bit of a quarterback quandary. The same can’t be said for the Chargers, which brings us to the Draft.
With Brady saddled up in SoCal, the Chargers have no reason to take Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick. Instead, they take a page out of the Buccaneers playbook and bolster Brady’s offensive line. Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and the man who the Buccaneers ended up drafting, Tristan Wirfs, are all on the board. To keep things simple, let’s just say the Chargers take Wirfs. The rest of the teams from picks 7-12 ahead of the Buccaneers were not in the quarterback market. Sure a team may trade up for a quarterback, and with the Buccaneers all in on the Brady sweepstakes but failing, they still decide to part ways with Jameis Winston, who still ends up in New Orleans. With all being the case, whether it be by simply staying put while he likely falls or trading up to get him, the Buccaneers end up with Herbert as their quarterback.
So where does this leave us? With Brady and company with the Chargers, they win the Super
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Bowl, defeating Mahomes again in the process. Sorry everyone, he’s Tom Brady. This is simply a fantasy we’re reaping the benefits of reality. Who does he defeat though since he’s staying in the AFC? Well, the Buccaneers still make the playoffs with Herbert. However, winning in New Orleans is simply too much for the Rookie of the Year, and the Buccaneers fall in New Orleans. So, the NFC Championship is a battle of two legendary quarterbacks with Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers. One
whose team consistently falls in spectacular fashion since his Super Bowl and another who just can’t get over the hump since his. It hoenstly doesn’t matter who wins, because in the end Brady wins. Brady always wins.
To wrap things up simply, if the Buccaneers didn’t sign Tom Brady, Brady, Gronk and AB are champions with the Chargers and Anthony Lynn keeps his job, the Chiefs aren’t as humiliated since they don’t reach the Super Bowl, and the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is in the hands of Justin Herbert. For this what if scenario, it certainly ends up pretty decent for the Buccaneers. Let us know any other what if scenario in Buccaneers history to explore as we’ll be bringing you one every Wednesday.