The GOAT. We can all admit it, right? Tom Brady is the GOAT, the greatest of all time. He has been for the last two decades. So far, Tom has won six Super Bowls, four of which he was the MVP. He was the NFL League MVP three times and he was a Pro Bowler 14 times. He has also twice led the NFL in passing yards. Most athletes at his age (42) and with his accolades would just ride off into the sunset. But in his press conference, after suffering a 20-13 loss to the Titans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, he was asked about retirement, “I would say it’s pretty unlikely (I retired),” Brady said. “Hopefully, unlikely.” This is the same guy that wants to play until he’s 45, so of course, he isn’t going to hang it up. He loves it too much. But will he still be a Patriot? That’s the question.
Tom Brady is a free agent for the first time in his career. Now, there is plenty of reasons for the Patriots to resign Tom Brady. For one, Cody Kessler and Jarrett Stidham are all that is left at that position. Brady may be declining but he still a better option than those two. Another reason is that Brady wasn’t the only reason the Patriots failed to get to the Superbowl. Outside of Julian Edelman, they don’t have any blockbuster weapons at Tom’s disposal. Finally, if the Patriots release Brady it will cost them $13.5 million in dead cap money for the 2020 season.
However, crazy things happen all the time in the NFL and Tom Brady wearing a different uniform next year certainly wouldn’t be the craziest thing. So, if we are entertaining crazy, where do we start? Well several teams in the AFC have shaky quarterback situations. The Colts, Dolphins, and Chargers come to mind. What would adding Tom Brady mean for those teams and how would that move affect their divisional opponents?
Could Jacoby Brissett be the backup for Tom Brady again? That would be interesting. In his postseason wrap-up, Colts GM Chris Ballard didn’t necessarily commit to the future of Brissett. “The jury’s still out,” Ballard said. “That’s why we did the short-term deal with Jacoby, to have the security of a player we liked and to find out if he can be the guy.” The Colts were in the hunt this year for the playoffs after starting 5-2 under Brissett but only went 2-7 the rest of the way and fell short of that goal. Last year with reliable quarterback play under Andrew Luck, the Colts made it to the Divisional round of the playoffs. They are certainly a talented team that could flourish with the right person under center. One of the biggest issues that Brady had with the Patriots this season was lack of playmakers. That would not be the case in Indy. T.Y. Hilton would provide the over-the-top receiver that Brady has been missing and Jack Doyle, while he’s no Gronk, would be more suitable at the Tight End position than either Ben Watson or Matt LaCosse were for the Patriots. The Colts also have one of the league’s best offensive lines, which is probably something that a 42-year-old Quarterback would be looking for.
In Indianapolis, Brady would see the Texans, the Titans (who just knocked them out of the playoffs), and the Jaguars twice a year. It’s not the AFC East, but what is? Would Brady be successful enough to reclaim the division for the Colts? Does he want to face J.J. Watt twice a year? Those would all be things he’d have to consider if he were to put on a Colts helmet.
This wouldn’t happen…. Would it? For 20 years, Tom Brady has been the Road Runner to Miami’s Wyle E. Coyote. It would seem unfathomable that he would don the Aqua and Orange and play the Patriots twice a year. However, the Dolphins have 37-year-old, journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick under center and they finished better than originally expected, so they probably won’t be able to draft LSU’s Joe Burrow in this year’s draft. Tom Brady could be a bridge gap between now and when the Dolphins get their QB of the future. He would still be in the AFC East, which would give him familiarity. Miami has several draft picks to build a team around and they have a little bit of talent currently on the roster. Maybe Tom Brady is looking for a project. How crazy would it be for the Patriots to finally lose the division to the Tom Brady led Dolphins? Remember, we are entertaining the crazy.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Tom Brady, the face of Los Angeles football? L.A. needs to sell tickets and Brady could be the attraction that does it. The Chargers have always had the talent (I hear about it every year that the media picks them to win the division). With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry, this could be the best offense Brady has had since the 2007 Patriots with Randy Moss. They do need offensive line help which could be a concern for Brady, but they could try to improve that in the offseason. The Chargers still have Phillip Rivers on the roster, and he is going through a decline just like Brady. The difference is, is that Rivers had the talent around him that Brady did not. Could Brady turn that talent into wins?
In L.A. he would play in the AFC West. He would have the Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos twice a year. Twice a year, Chiefs fans would have to worry about the Chargers having every call go their way because every call would go the Chargers way. If you thought New England Tom Brady was pampered by the referees, just wait until you see L.A. Tom Brady. If the NFL was truly scripted, this is exactly how they would want it.
What could be worse than Tom Brady going to the Chargers? Tom Brady going to Denver. This would be Elway landing Peyton all over again. Since he can’t groom a quarterback on his own, he’ll go out and get one that already is. John Elway is too impatient to rebuild, he wants to win now. Now you’re probably thinking, “Why would he go out and get Brady when he has finally found someone in Drew Lock?” Well, he did it to Tim Tebow and that was after winning the division and a playoff game. What has Drew Lock done? Sure, he has promise, but why not take that promise and put it on the bench to learn behind a guy with six rings? Plus, given his track record with quarterbacks, I bet Elway wouldn’t mind handing the keys over to a proven winner.
Like with L.A. Brady would face the AFC West but, for Chiefs fans, this would be worse. MUCH WORSE. Because anytime the Chiefs would lose to Brady, they would also lose to ol’ Horse face too. That would be almost four decades of Chiefs agony brought back to life in one game. As a Chiefs fan, I would lose it. It would be like if Hans Gruber and Darth Vader formed some tag team in Hell and rose from the dead to wreak havoc on society. That would be Brady and Elway.
Another item to consider is that whichever team that Brady chooses, there is a big play receiver that has already said he’d go with him. Antonio Brown. Brown tweeted out his 2020 plans on Saturday:
2020 Only Want To Play With @TomBrady Or No Play
TB and AB could be something to watch for in 2020 and the two of them together would make any of these teams better offensively. I just hope they stay out of the AFC West.