Tom Brady, for the first time in his 20-year career, can go wherever he wants.
The six-time Super Bowl champion reportedly wants to play for two more years, until he is 45-years-old. He wants to be compensated well and be surrounded by weapons that can help him succeed immediately. Also on his checklist is a good offensive line, given his lack of mobility,
Here, TGH will take a look at three of his most likely landing spots ahead of free agency, which starts on March 18 at 4:00pm.
New England Patriots
Many trusted sports reporters are positing that Tom Brady’s time in New England is over. Jeff Darlington is among them, saying he would be “stunned” if Tom Brady returned. Adam Schefter has also retweeted information suggesting he believes Brady will not be a Patriot next year.
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the New England front office has not reached out to him. So, skepticism is running rampant given all of these facts, coupled with the Patriots’ lack of weapons and their inability to pay him what he wants and still go acquire new receivers.
But, instead of focusing on all the conjecture, NFL fans should focus on what they know.
Brady has been a Patriot for 20 years. He and Belichick have reached nine Super Bowls together, winning six. If New England had the weapons Brady is clearly seeking, he would obviously return for the final few years of his career, maybe even taking one last (small) pay cut to make one more run.
However strained the media is making the relationship between the Patriots and Brady seem, no one really knows what the conversations behind closed doors have been like. There is obviously respect and love there after a two decade relationship.
This is all to say that the most likely candidate to make things work is, in fact, New England. There is history, a winning culture and if Brady’s needs are met, he surely would rather not end his career wearing a different jersey. They still have the upper hand here, if not on Brady, on all the other teams courting him.
Since so much importance was put on relationships in the above paragraph, then the Titans cannot be ignored as a potential landing spot.
Tennessee’s head coach, Mike Vrabel, played in New England with Brady for seven years. Vrabel even considers him a “good friend.” Playing with and for someone he considers a friend may go a very long way in the twilight of Brady’s career.
The Titans have a fantastic offensive line and the newest inductee into the “superstar” running back tier, in Derrick Henry. Their receivers are both young and dynamic, especially A.J. Brown who will be going into his sophomore year in the NFL.
Easily the most surprising team to make a deep playoff run, Tennessee upset the juggernaut Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round to reach the AFC Championship. They did all of this with a resurgent Ryan Tannehill, who is, himself, a free agent.
If the team decides to move on from Tannehill to try and secure Brady’s services, it is hard to imagine there will be a big drop-off in production, if any. Brady is obviously a veteran who knows how to win, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. In contrast, last year was Tannehill’s first-ever trip to the postseason.
The biggest detractor from making this a sure-fire decision for Tom is the fact that Nashville is not a big market. Brady’s brand is one of the biggest in the league, and moving it to Tennessee does not seem like the best business move. Considering the end of his career is nigh, he should be focused on his last contract and growing that brand in anticipation of his retirement.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have lost a lot of traction after being considered a big favorite to sign Brady immediately after the Patriots’ postseason exit. They do still seem to be positioning themselves to make a splash by trying to acquire him, however.
Los Angeles and Phillip Rivers have officially parted ways. Rivers is a free agent and has moved his family to Florida after a disappointing 2019 season. They are now officially without a franchise quarterback.
Landing Brady would be absolutely huge for the Chargers. They have little to no brand or fan base as they prepare to move in to an expensive Los Angeles Stadium they will share with the Rams. Bringing in a six-time Super Bowl champion ready to prove himself separately of the Patriots would be the way to reverse that immediately.
They have great weapons, including a reliable tight end in Hunter Henry, and a stout defense. In fact, if they knew they were trying to give the ball back to Tom Brady, the defense may even play above expectations. The biggest roster issue comes from their questionable offensive line, as Brady does not want to be sacked consistently at age 43.
But as far as branding goes, there really could not be a better place to go than Los Angeles. He could build the Chargers brand, while simultaneously building his in the entertainment capital of the world. This pairing makes sense for everyone involved.
Featured Image courtesy of Elise Amendola/AP Photo
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