While the NFL conference championship games went on without Tom Brady for only the second time in 11 years, the world waits for the greatest quarterback of all time to make his future plans official.
An announcement is expected soon and a person close to Brady told The Associated Press his decision will be based on family priorities, not finances. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because he wasn't authorized to speak on Brady's behalf.
Brady has already stated a desire to spend more time with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and three children.
"She deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad, and I'm gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need, because they've really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do," Brady said on his SiriusXM podcast one day after the Los Angeles Rams eliminated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady's contract is a complicated matter for the Buccaneers. He signed a $25 million, one-year extension with three voidable years last March to free up salary cap space to allow the Buccaneers to return all 22 starters from the Super Bowl championship team.
Brady is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8.925 million in 2022 with a signing bonus of $15 million, a roster bonus of $1,470,588, and an incentive bonus of $1.875 million, while carrying a cap hit of $20,270,588 and a dead cap value of $32 million.
He'll be paid $15 million of his $20 million signing bonus on Friday. However, he would owe the team money if he retires.
"The Bucs would have the right to ask for $16 million of Tom Brady's $20 million signing bonus back. Whether the Bucs would exercise the right is a different story," Joel Corry, a former sports agent and NFL contract and salary cap expert, told the AP.
The Buccaneers could choose to let Brady keep the bonus because he rejuvenated the franchise and led them to their second Super Bowl title in his first season in Tampa after 20 years with the New England Patriots.
The team would benefit by waiting to process the retirement after June 2, as many NFL teams do each year.
"By doing so, the $24 million of bonus proration associated with the `dummy or fake' 2023 through 2025 contract years would be a 2023 salary cap charge rather than part of the 2022 dead money, which would be $8 million," Corry explained in his article for CBSSports.com. "The Buccaneers would pick up $12,270,588 of 2022 cap room with Brady's 2022 salary and $1.875 million of incentives deemed likely to be earned that have a cap charge coming off the books."
ESPN first reported Brady's retirement on Saturday, citing unidentified sources. Brady's company posted a tweet indicating he's retiring, and reaction came from around the world congratulating Brady on his career. Even the NFL's Twitter account posted a series of congratulatory messages.
But TB12sports deleted its tweet, and Brady's agent, Don Yee, said the three-time NFL MVP would be the only person to accurately express his future.
Brady informed Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht he has not made a decision, according to two people who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the conversations.
Brady's father, Tom Brady, Sr., told multiple reporters that his son hasn't made a firm decision yet.
When Brady walks away, he'll do so as the NFL's career leader in numerous passing categories and most prolific winner. He'd also be going out at the top of his game.
Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719), but the Buccaneers lost at home to the Rams last Sunday in the divisional round after rallying from a 27-3 deficit to tie in the final minute.
Brady won six Super Bowls with the Patriots playing for coach Bill Belichick, and got better with age.
After turning 37, Brady won four Super Bowls and was 17-4 in the playoffs. He was 95-30, completed 65.2% of his passes for 35,371 yards, 265 TDs, 69 interceptions and 100.2 passer rating in the regular season in those eight seasons.
This article was originally published on January 29, 2022.