Tom Brady has brought ‘the LeBron effect’ to Buccaneers

Tampa Bay is suddenly the hot destination now that Tom Brady is a Buccaneer.

One of the secondary benefits of signing the Greatest Of All-Time to a team is the intangible way that player lifts the organization: Ticket and jersey sales will skyrocket and other players will want to become a part of that franchise.

“Since word surfaced that Tom Brady is expected to land in Tampa, an unexpected high number of players have reached out to the Buccaneers to let them know they want to join the former Patriots’ QB there, per league sources,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “This is otherwise known as the NFL version of the LeBron effect…”

Brady announced his 20-year marriage with New England was over on Monday, but he had made it clear to any potential suitors he would prioritize teams with offensive weapons long before that. He is expected to sign a contract valued at around $30 million per season in the coming days with the Buccaneers, who already have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and Breshad Perriman rostered.

Last year, Godwin finished third in the NFL in yards receiving (1,333) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (nine) while Evans finished 13th in yards (1,157) and tied for ninth in touchdowns (eight).

One area where the Buccaneers are weak is the running back position. The committee of Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber last season was lackluster at best, and Tampa has been named as a potential landing spot for star running backs Todd Gurley, who is likely done with the Rams, and free agent Melvin Gordon.

Ahead of the free agency, ESPN’s Diana Russini reported that the Buccaneers would be “willing to give Tom Brady the things he needs, he wants”, namely, “control over roster” and “making decisions on the play-calling.”

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport wrote that Brady wants to bring troubled receiver Antonio Brown with him to his next destination.

The Buccaneers currently have $46.66 million in cap space, second-most in the league according to Spotrac and sit at +175 behind the Saints (-115) to win the NFC South, which could flip if the team signs more big names.

The $30 million question is, will it all come together for the Buccaneers? Brady desperately wants to win his seventh Super Bowl ring and the team looks strong on paper, but the Cleveland Browns proved that building a fantasy football team isn’t necessarily enough to elevate a team to the Super Bowl.

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