If you would have asked me a month ago if there was any chance Tom Brady would be leaving the Patriots this year, I would have said there’s absolutely no way that’s happening. Here’s why; The Patriots were dismissed from the playoffs in the wild card round which ended in a Tom Brady pick 6 to secure the Titans win. I was convinced he would not want his legacy in a Patriots uniform to end that way. I believed Brady would be coming back for his 21st season in a New England Patriots jersey.
Yet here is where I see Tom Brady playing out the remainder of his NFL career.
Yup, you guessed it! It’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best fit for Tom Brady for a multitude of reasons both on and off the field. First and foremost, the Bucs give Brady the offensive weapons he’s been lacking for the past few years in New England. The best of these weapons being Mike Evans, who is a top 5 WR in the NFL. Followed by the emerging star in Chris Godwin. This would give him two 1,000-yard receivers, something Brady hasn’t had since 2017 when he had Gronk & Brandin Cooks. To compliment those two wide receivers the Buccaneers also have two solid options at tight end in O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. They also have a running back in Ronald Jones who had over 300 yards receiving this past season.
One of the biggest detractors against the Bucs being a free agency destination for Tom Brady must be the fact that they gave up 47 sacks this year. If they give up 47 sacks with Brady at quarterback, Brady won’t make it through the season. However, this is an issue the Bucs can fix before Brady is ever actually on the field in a Bucs Jersey. The Buccaneers possess over $80 million dollars in cap space this offseason. If they so choose, they can clear out another $10.75 million in cap space if they part ways with 30-year-old linebacker Lavonte David, who is going into the last year of his contract. All this to say that even after signing Brady, the Buccaneers would have plenty of cap space to address the offensive line and could even use their #14 overall pick in the NFL draft to add another pass protector. Another interesting thing to note is that the Buccaneers could be a more desirable landing spot than the Patriots, Chargers, Raiders, Colts, or Titans, since there is no income tax in the state of Florida.
One last reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best fit for Brady is their quarterback whisperer head coach Bruce Arians. In his first year as the Bucs head coach, he was able to get a 5000-yard passing season out of turnover machine Jameis Winston. Another example would be when he worked with Carson Palmer, who looked like his best days were long past him when he was playing for the Raiders. Yet after developing under Arians for a few years with the Arizona Cardinals he was able to produce a 4,671-yard, 35 touchdown, 11 interception season in 2015. Palmer possessed a passer rating of 104.6 that season (the best of his career) and led the Cardinals to a 13-3 season. Their are many other examples that demonstrate Arians ability to develop the quarterback position, but i’m not going to list them all. If you would like to know more about him you can read his book The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback. So here’s my point: If there’s anyone that can get the best out of Brady for one, maybe two seasons, Bruce Arians is arguably the best guy for the job. In the end, if I were a betting man (which I’m not) I would place a bet that Brady signs a two year contract with the Buccaneers and retires at the end of that contract at the age of 44 having played 22 seasons in the NFL.
Tampa Bay won’t be the only team interested in Brady’s services this offseason and next I’ll list why I don’t think he will go to any of the following locations and will end up in Tampa Bay instead.
Las Vegas-I have been hearing the rumors and have seen the articles claiming the Raiders will be offering Brady a two year 60-million-dollar contract. Here’s why Brady isn’t going to be a Raider. THE RAIDERS HAVE DEREK CARR. Yes, I get it, some of you don’t believe that Derek Carr can be Jon Gruden’s franchise quarterback. Here’s why your wrong. He has made strides in each of the first two years that he has played under Gruden and I truly believe that he will have a breakout season this year, especially if the raiders go out and get him a #1 Wide Receiver in CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy come draft day.
Carr has shown growth the last two years in Gruden’s offense. His passer rating increased from 86.4 in 2017 to 93.9 in 2018, and then increased again in 2019 to 100.8. This was good enough for the 9th best passer rating in the league, and 9 spots higher than Tom Brady whose passer rating this season was an 88.0. Derek Carr also had a 70.4% completion percentage this season, while Brady had a 60.8%. Most would argue that this is just a result of Brady not having great weapons to throw to in the passing game, which could be partially true, but at least some of it should be allocated to the fact that at almost 43 years old, Brady’s arm might not be what it once was, which can at times leads to errant, inaccurate throws and thus incompletions.
Dallas-It has been reported that someone significant, who apparently wasn’t Jerry Jones or anyone else inside the Cowboys organization, brought up to Michael Irvin that the Cowboys could potentially sign Tom Brady & then franchise tag and trade Dak Prescott to another team. For all we know that could have just been Troy Aikman who made that statement to Irvin half-jokingly. In all seriousness, this is an even more preposterous scenario than the Brady to Oakland rumors. IT ISN’T HAPPENING. Dak Prescott is 26 years old and just came of his best season in the NFL. He is going to be a Dallas Cowboy, for the next 10-15 years. Jerry Jones is just simply running a business and trying not to get fleeced like Ryan Tollner managed to do to the L.A. Rams with Jared Goff.
Los Angeles (Chargers)-at first the Chargers could sound like a sexy destination for Tom Brady, he would be living in LA among the world’s greatest celebrities. He could enjoy occasional Lakers and Dodgers games throughout the offseason. The weather is a great upgrade from Foxborough, It’s always sunny in L.A. so he won’t have to worry about playing in the snow. When it comes to the actual team the Chargers have offensive weapons in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. If they re-sign Hunter Henry and either of their top 2 RB’s in Melvin Gordon or Austin Ekeler you can add their names to their repertoire of assets. They also have a serviceable offensive line, which should do a decent job of keeping the pocket clean for Brady throughout the season.
Yet, if you continue to think about what it would mean for Brady to be in L.A. among the greatest celebrities America has to offer, you start to realize it might not be in his best interest to go there. If Brady is looking for a place to go where he can draw attention to himself and prove that he can win outside of New England then he needs the spotlight to remain on him all season, all year round really, and in L.A. that just wouldn’t be the case. On top of that the Chargers have a poor fan base that is second fiddle to the L.A. Rams. ultimately if Brady is on a crusade to prove that he is not just a product of the Belichick system, and that he can win elsewhere, then he needs to be the sole attention of the media, and that wouldn’t be the case in Los Angeles.
Indianapolis– the Colts would be an interesting situation, probably the least talked about realistic landing spot for Brady. The Colts need to decide what their future is at left tackle. Do they re-sign Anthony Castonzo? Do they sign a new LT in free agency, or even hope they can find their next franchise left tackle in the draft at #13 overall? After they decide that, the next big question would be who is Brady throwing to? Eric Ebron is a free agent who may not be back next season. TY Hilton is 30 years old, he missed 6 games due to injury this year, and is on the last year of his contract. If the Colts decided to move on from him this offseason, they would free up $14.5 million in cap space, but that again would beg the question, who is Brady throwing to in 2020 for the Indianapolis Colts. In the end, the Colts are a team that has a lot of questions they need to answer this offseason before they can decide whether they should be pursuing Tom Brady in free agency, and that’s why I just don’t see it happening. If it does in fact happen however, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
Tennessee-the Titans are another team that I’ve heard tossed around as a possible Brady landing spot, and there is the Mike Vrabel connection, but it’s just something that I don’t see happening. The Titans ownership and management believe they have found their quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. I’m not to sure he’s a viable long term option, or worthy of, say, a Derek Carr type investment of 5 years $125 million, but if the Titans have any desire to bring back Derrick Henry then the Titans can’t be investing $30+ million dollars a season into Tom Brady.
If they want to bring back Henry, paying Tannehill a less taxing sum of $20-$25 million a season gives them a much higher chance of bringing Derrick Henry back into the fold. Even if the Titans are willing to let Henry get paid somewhere else, leaving a void at their running back spot, it would still shock me if they went out and spent that money on Tom Brady. Again, I know the Mike Vrabel connection is there. He and Brady won three Super Bowls together, but I just don’t see Brady playing in a Titans uniform next season. I will say this though, it’s more likely he ends up in a Titans uniform, rather than say a Raiders or Cowboys uniform next season.
New England-you’re probably wondering why I have yet to bring up the team he has played the last twenty years with, and rightly so, but it’s because I was saving them for last. Like I stated at the beginning of this article. If you had asked me about six weeks ago if I thought Brady was going to be a New England Patriot next season, I would have said without a doubt, yes. After giving it more thought and hearing the rumors about how Brady is displeased with the Patriots, feels disrespected by the organization, and that the Patriots are finally ready to cut ties and move on from Brady I’ve come to believe that this parting will actually happen.
After looking at the Patriots financial situation heading into this offseason, I also believe that they won’t be able to put together a competitive enough team to compete for a Super Bowl Championship this upcoming season. They will be having many players on the defensive side of the ball enter free agency this spring, creating many holes that will need to be filled. The team also has many areas of need on the offensive side of the ball that should be addressed. Due to this conundrum, I don’t think the Patriots will be able to put enough talent on the field to be successful in the 2020 season. The real irony of this situation is that if Brady does leave the Patriots, and they aren’t able to put together a decent team, they may be in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence this time next year. This isn’t a prediction, but it would be an ironic turn of events if Brady’s departure leads to the Patriots landing their next 20-year franchise quarterback.
In conclusion, I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best possible landing spot for Tom Brady. It may not happen, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is a great possible landing spot for TB12. Also, selfishly, I would love to see Brady match up against both Drew Brees and Matt Ryan twice in the 2020 NFL season.