The biggest talking point of the NFL offseason has been Tom Brady reaching free agency for the first time in his 20-year career. There has been speculation about Brady’s potential new team since the beginning of the 2019 season.
There has not been a higher-profile free agent to hit the market in the history of the league. The situation is comparable to LeBron James and Kevin Durant hitting free agency during the past two offseasons. As far as speculation, signing a player of this stature would mean a change in the face of franchise and city for both his former and future team.
There seems to be a new front runner for Brady’s services by the day. With two teams seemingly left in the race, here is what Tom Brady will be looking at when he evaluates where he will play in 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians got the best out of Jameis Winston during his first year with the team.
His offense was built for Winston’s cannon of an arm who threw a league-high 5,109 yards and career-high 33 touchdowns. He also threw a career and league-high 30 interceptions. When asked after the season about Winston’s future with the team, head coach Bruce Arians commented that he feels he could win with any quarterback.
Though Winston had a career year with Arians in Tampa, Arians might have felt that Winston’s turnovers were the reason for a good amount of their losses and might look for an upgrade at the position.
The Buccaneers had arguably the best 1-2 combo in the league at wide receiver with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Both looked like number one wide receivers at different times last year. Their offensive line is okay and the Buccaneers are going to need a boost in the running game if they want to lure Brady their direction.
The Buccaneers discretely had the third most salary cap room in the league ($84 million). This means they can make upgrades along the offensive line, at running back, and they can likely bring in a defensive playmaker as well to the top run defense in football last season. The Buccaneers have also brought back both of their pass rushers, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, and still have money to spend.
Bruce Arians rejuvenated Carson Palmer late in his career when he appeared washed up. Brady might not be washed up, but he definitely isn’t the quarterback he used to be. Another factor that people discount for the Buccaneers is the fact that they play in warm weather which can be very attractive to a free agent. Especially one like Brady who has played in all of the elements in New England.
The Buccaneers have all the pieces to make Tampa the next home for Brady. They just have to convince him that they are committed to winning a Super Bowl within the next couple of years.
Los Angeles Chargers
Two weeks ago the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t seem like a favorable landing spot for Brady’s services.
Their offensive line was a mess and there were question marks surrounding the skill positions. Now that they have franchise tagged tight end Hunter Henry, extended running back Austin Ekeler, and traded Russell Okung for Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner.
Just like that, the Chargers look a lot more favorable to a quarterback like Brady. The Chargers have made statements saying that they are content starting Tyrod Taylor in 2020 with the departure of former franchise quarterback Philip Rivers.
However, it would be foolish to believe that the Chargers aren’t going to do everything in their power to prevent that from happening. The Chargers are going to either bring in an elite veteran or draft a quarterback early in this year’s draft and Tom Brady is at the top of their list.
Out of all of the locations where Brady can sign, none can top Los Angeles. L.A. has great weather, celebrities and Hollywood. Brady has publicly said he wants a career in Hollywood after retirement, so Los Angeles would be a prime location to live for not only his, but his wife Gisele’s career.
An interesting note to add about Los Angeles is the fact that Brady did just create his own TV/Film production company 199 Productions. This could be evidence showing up early that Brady plans on being in Los Angeles long term.
On the Football side, the Chargers have one of the best young coaches in the league in Anthony Lynn, some good receivers including Kennan Allen and Mike Williams, the best receiving running back in the league in Austin Ekeler and (if they franchise tag him) a big-play tight end in Hunter Henry.
The Chargers also have an elite defense headlined by playmakers like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, Desmond King and Derwin James. Not to mention the Chargers can use the sixth overall pick to draft a left tackle for Brady. They can then draft depth for other needs across the team to really solidify their roster.
The Chargers were one of the best teams in all of football two seasons ago and have one of the most complete rosters in the league. If Brady can look past the injuries and close losses from last season he’d see an extremely good football team in need of a quarterback to make them contenders.