As the clock struck 0 after the earliest Patriots playoff exit in a decade, all eyes turned to Tom Brady and his contract situation. This off-season he becomes an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, and there are serious doubts about him returning to New England.
Brady made $23 million this season and $220 million in his career, but he has made it known that he wants to get paid. For those of you who believe he might retire (or just hoping he retires), should look forward to Brady being in the league for at least 1-2 more years.
So with Brady still wanting to play in the NFL, the question turns to, with who? Brady admitted after the loss to the Titans that he isn’t certain on where he will be playing next year, “I don’t know what the future looks like”.
Although Owner Robert Kraft would do anything to keep Brady on the team, Bill Belichick has seemed open to parting ways if necessary. If we look back to 2017 when the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers, Bill Belichick wanted to keep Jimmy to eventually replace Brady, but Kraft and Tom forced Jimmy G out against Belichick’s will.
Tom Brady has taken the “hometown discount” countless times, but for his final contract, the man wants to get paid. I am going to narrow down Brady’s options to 5 possible teams from the most likely team to land Brady to the least likely. Let us begin…..
#1 New England Patriots
Even though there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brady and his future with the Patriots, a return to finish out his career is the likely option. He would be able to finish out his storybook career in the same place that he started, further cementing his place in Patriots history(not that he isn’t already).
The main issue with this is that Kraft and Belichick may prefer not to give Brady a max contract in order to save cap space for other positions of need. Although there is a chance that Brady stays, the financial reluctance points to him finishing off his career with another team.
#2 Indianapolis Colts
The most likely option for Brady if he were to leave New England is the Colts. Many people argue that Deflategate and Peyton Manning’s legacy are the reasons Brady wouldn’t go to Indianapolis, but at this point in his career, he just wants the best chance to compete while getting paid.
They have a top 5 offensive line to protect him, solid weapons (TY Hilton, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Marlon Mack), and an efficiently stable organization. They also have the 2nd most available cap space (behind the Dolphins) this off-season to fill out the rest of the roster. An added bonus, he gets to play indoors.
#3 Los Angeles Chargers
Not only are the Chargers perfect for Brady because he used to live in California and he gets to build his brand in the bright lights of LA, but they also have a plethora of talent on their roster. The offense has RB Austin Ekeler, TE Hunter Henry and WR’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and that’s not including the talent on defense with DE Joey Bosa and S Derwin James.
The only area for concern here is that they have been underachieving as a team all throughout Phillip Rivers tenure, and their offensive line is an absolute mess, to put it lightly.
#4 Cleveland Browns
Here’s the first shocker of the list, and it won’t be the last. As we all know, the Browns underachieved in massive proportions this season, but they still have talent all throughout their roster. Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Nick Chubb to name a few, but Baker Mayfield would have to sit behind Brady, and if he’s willing to sacrifice for 2 years to learn behind the G.O.A.T. then this marriage could potentially work.
Owner Jimmy Haslam understands that this team has the talent to compete for a championship, and he could kill two birds with one stone by hiring Josh McDaniels as the Browns new HC. With Josh McDaniels at HC, Brady would continue to play under the same system he’s had his whole career and make the transition seamless. It may seem far fetched, but it makes perfect sense if McDaniels the hire.
#5 Dallas Cowboys
Now here’s where it gets interesting as on paper, this seems like a solid fit. Obviously Dak Prescott has the looks of a franchise QB, but Jerry Jones is one of the most unpredictable owners in the league. With the pressure on “America’s Team” to win, what better way to do that than by following up your hiring of a Super Bowl HC with a Super Bowl QB???
Tom Brady immediately gives an ultra talented roster a QB with the experience to immediately contend for a Super Bowl. The only issues with this are that Tom Brady has a “hatred” for the Cowboys “I’ve really not liked the Cowboys since coming out of the womb as a Niner fan” but this is definitely a dark horse move that makes absolutely no sense while making all the sense in the world. Don’t be surprised when this happens.
Honorable Mention- Detroit Lions
I had to include the Lions because on paper this is a solid fit for Brady. He gets to finish out his career in Detroit after playing in college for Michigan University, and also has a plethora of weapons on offense with Kenny Galladay, Marvin Jones, TJ (Baby Gronk) Hockenson, and Kerryon Johnson.
Along with this, he gets to reunite with his old DC Matt Patricia while having the luxury to play indoors in Ford Field. The only downside is that they had 3 wins last season, but now hold the #3 spot in the draft so there’s some promise to this.
All in all, Tom Brady has earned the right to explore his options and to choose the option that he feels will benefit himself and his family. Pick wisely Tom.