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ESPN: Brady going to Tampa

The Associated Press

BOSTON — Over the past two decades, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick built the most successful player-coach partnership in NFL history, establishing the core of the Patriots’ championship culture.

Following Brady’s announcement Tuesday morning that he will leave New England in free agency, Belichick is left with replacing the most successful quarterback pro football has seen while also retooling a roster that already had several needs.

“I don’t know what my football future holds, but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and my career,” Brady wrote in his Instagram post Tuesday.

Late Tuesday night, ESPN was reporting that Brady was going to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, but no comment was forthcoming from the Brady camp, or from the Bucs, on the report.

Meanwhile, the team Brady leaves behind must plot a new course into an unknown future, too. It’s been pretty much two decades since that was true.

The Patriots dominated the AFC East during Brady’s tenure, winning the division 17 times, including a record 11 straight seasons, to go along with their six Lombardi Trophies.

But Brady was frustrated throughout 2019 as he tried to lead an offense that lacked consistency and a deep threat at receiver. He also struggled to get dependable production from the tight end position following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.

“Nothing about the end of Tom’s Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was,” Belichick said in a statement Tuesday. “With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone’s adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.”

What’s next for Belichick as he prepares for the official start of free agency on Wednesday with 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham as his starting quarterback? There’s also journeyman Cody Kessler out of USC. That’s hardly an ideal scenario.

Elsewhere:

n The Steelers lost defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to the Eagles and linebacker Tyler Matakevich to the Bills.

n The Panthers and free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have agreed to a three-year, $63 million contract to replace Cam Newton. The Panthers announced earlier Tuesday they were parting ways with Newton, their No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

n Philip Rivers, the long-time Chargers star quarterback, agreed to a one-year contract with the Colts.

n The Jets continued to overhaul their offensive line by agreeing to terms with former Broncos center Connor McGovern on a three-year deal.

n Former Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga has agreed to a contract with the Chargers.

n Linebacker Thomas Davis, who played last year with the Chargers, says he’s reuniting with former coach Ron Rivera and signing with the Redskins. Davis also played in Carolina.

n Veteran tight end Jason Witten, a long-time Dallas Cowboy, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Raiders.

n The Rams lost defensive tackle Michael Brockers to the Ravens and leading tackler Cory Littleton to the Raiders.

n The Bears have released outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, parting with a former first-round draft pick.

n The Titans have added a pass rusher, agreeing to terms with defensive end Vic Beasley, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Falcons.

n The Eagles released safety standout Malcolm Jenkins, who led their secondary for the last six years and helped them win the 2017 NFL title.

n The Jaguars have agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Joe Schobert, former of the Browns.

n The Bears have agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with former All-Pro defensive end Robert Quinn of the Cowboys.

n The Dolphins picked up running back Jordan Howard from the Eagles, defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah from the Chiefs, safety Clayton Fejedelm from the Bengals and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill from the Eagles.

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