Tom Brady's Potential Retirement Keeps Getting More Complicated

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs on January 23 prompted a flurry of questions around star quarterback Tom Brady's potential retirement. At a press conference following the game, Brady clarified that he was still undecided about his future with the league. "I haven't put a lot of thought into it," Brady told reporters. "So, we'll just take it day by day and kind of see where we're at." He furthered this sentiment on an episode of his "Let's Go!" podcast with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald, telling listeners he was in "no rush" to figure out what's next for him. "It's a day after the season and we can all decompress a bit — it's been six straight months of football. Now, it's just time to spend time with my family and my kids," he added, according to Sporting News.

Brady appeared to already be transitioning toward more family time just a few days later, when ESPN reported that the seven-time Super Bowl winner would be hanging up his cleats for good. According to sources close to the record-setting quarterback, factors like family, health, and the Buccaneers' roster turnover played into his decision. But while Brady was expected to formally make an announcement about his retirement in the coming days, he has yet to do so ... and things are getting a little more complicated.

Tom Brady may be leaving money on the table if he walks away now

Prior to the start of the 2020 season, Tom Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Sporting News. In March 2021, he also agreed to a one-year extension with the franchise, worth $25 million. However, Sportrac reports that if the quarterback retires prior to February 4, he will be giving up $15 million out of a potential $20 million signing bonus. If he stays on after that date, his entire salary would be guaranteed, though voided if he decides to retire. In short, there's a lot of money riding on Brady's decision.

As of late afternoon on January 29, Brady told the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' general manager Jason Licht that he has not yet made a decision regarding his future, per Twitter. Brady's agent, Don Yee, told ESPN that he was deferring to Brady to make the final call. "I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what's being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy," Yee said in a statement, via Twitter. "He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon," he added. Whatever Brady does next will also determine Tampa Bay's next move. Per, the Bucs will have the No. 27 pick of the draft, and they may need to scoop up a new QB.