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Patriots Talk: What is Best For Tom Brady?

It really has been a interesting year. First, the Patriots started off with 10 straight wins in the regular season and then fell off to 2-4 to end their season 12-4. And without a first round bye, for the first time since 2009, the Patriots went 1 and done (Which further illustrates how ridiculous the Patriots success has been for these last 20 years). But the season is over, and the skeptics are out and about saying the dynasty is finished. But we don’t truly know until after Super Bowl LVI if that can be accurate.

The dynasty officially ends with Brady and Belichick retiring. Full stop. If Brady were to leave, we can officially say that the dynasty, as we have known it, to be over. But NFL free agency will be begin on March 18th. That is a long waiting period till the speculation will be laid to rest. But the ultimate question that is hanging over everyone’s heads: What will be best for Tom Brady? Does he feel he deserves to be paid one last big contract before he hits retirement? Or does he want to contend for one more title? Only Tom Brady really knows.

But this thought can be simplified if one thinks about what each of the 32 teams can bring to the table. Some teams feel like they are a QB away from contending, while others have a QB and nothing else. But someone like Tom Brady will feel wanted if he hits free agency this year regardless if he is 42 (going on 43) years old. The only question is which team can give Brady the best offer? Let’s start by Division and try working our way down.

AFC East

New England Patriots - Tom Brady has spent 20 years here. Playing under Bill Belichick and winning 6 titles along the way. He loves his relationship with Robert Kraft and knows Josh McDaniels’ offensive scheme like nobody else. The only issue is the Patriots salary cap. If Brady wants to get paid it likely won’t be with Bill Belichick here. The Patriots have had alot of leverage when it comes to money becuase of Brady taking pay cuts over the years to help in signing new players. If Brady wanted a 7th ring, he would do it in a heart beat. But with how things have been this year and the years coming down to the wire, does Tom feel he deserves more money? Yes. Does he want a title more though? Absolutely yes. If Tom were to ask for an extension for longer than 2 years that can be quite concerning since the Patriots would be right back to wondering whom they have to groom to be his next successor (Jimmy Garoppolo is playing with the 49ers who have a strong chance to win the Super Bowl as of this writing). But the Patriots have $49 million in cap space going into 2020 with Brady, Devin McCourty, Jamie Collins, Matthew Slater, Joe Thuney and Kyle Van Noy are all free agents so the Patriots will have it tough to resign all these players obviously. But the chance of Brady returning is roughly 95% assured. Tom knows his age is still something that needs to be accounted for. He had a bad offense this year with the WR core having the most drops of any team in the NFL in 2019. They have real issues on offense but if Brady is willing to take a contract that is just enough to get them some real help and if his team stays healthy, they can do real damage in 2020.

Miami Dolphins - Not likely. Despite Brian Flores inheriting one of the least talented teams in he NFL this year, they still won games that mattered. (like in Week 17 with Ryan Fitzpatrick beating New England at home…yeah I am still hurting from that game) While Flores and Brady have strong ties to each other from New England, Brady is likely not in the Dolphins long term plans. They currently possess the No.5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and likely want to have a chance at getting Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama. Brady could work in the Flores’ system but doing it in a divison with the Patriots would be very unwise unless this was purely about money. Chance of happening: Probably less than 5%. Brady needs a team that has alot of complete parts and sadly the Dolphins are in a complete rebuild for likely the next 5 years at least.

Buffalo Bills - No chance. Josh Allen for all his issues, helped the Bills in getting to the playoffs with one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bills are committed to their franchise QB. 0% chance of Brady going to Buffalo in any scenario.

New York Jets - Same issue here. Sam Darnold is barely 23 years old and is a full 20 years younger then Brady. There is no way they move on from and Adam Gase is very likely gone after next year if he can’t get Darnold to develop into the QB for the future. 0% chance Brady chooses them over the Patriots in their own division.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers - Quite a controversial one here. There is alot of history between Brady and the Steelers. Not just including Antonio Brown (That man deserves his own article for another time) but often the Patriots and Steelers have battled in the playoffs. And the Patriots have emerged as winners more often then not. Brady would have a real opportunity here if he can get passed one problem: ‘Big Ben’ Roethlisburger. According to several reports, Big Ben has squashed any rumor that he won’t be playing in 2020 and beyond. He has been undergoing surgery to repair his elbow to reattach three tendons (the severity of an injury like that is enough that it could be career threatening) that was injured during the start of the 2019 season. If the Steelers are staying committed to Big Ben, then there is less then 5% chance Brady is considering them an option. The only way this changes if the doctors don’t clear Ben but that isn’t looking likely at this time.

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Cincinnati Bengals - Not happening. The Bengals are currently with the no.1 pick in the 2020 draft are all but committed to acquiring Ohio native and LSU’s QB, Joe Burrow. Even though it’s Tom Brady we are talking about, the Bengals have a chance at a future franchise QB and they don’t grow on trees. But if, and only if, the Bengals feel lucky enough, they can get Brady as a free agent to help mentor Burrow so that they can get their future QB on the sideline with a clipboard for awhile and learn behind the GOAT. If Brady feels that he needs only two more years then it would be a great situation with a solid o-line with RB Joe Mixon, WR core of A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and TE Tyler Eifert then it could be great situation. But its doubtful they are in Super Bowl Contention if thsi does happen. As of now, 10% chance of this actually happening.

Cleveland Browns - Even Brady couldn’t fix this franchise. I really doubt a 23 year old Brady could get six rings with the Browns as a franchise. Let along a 43 year old Brady. The Browns have talent, that isn’t a question. The problem is that it has abysmal ownership under Randy Lerner. The number of GMs, head coaches, first round busts go back as far as 1999. (The lone exception would be future HOF OT Joe Thomas who was taken 3rd overall in 2007.) And as of now, QB Baker Mayfield was taken in 2018 no.1 overall. The franchise has to stay committed to him regardless if this season was a setback for him. As of now, 0% Brady is getting a call from Cleveland.

Baltimore Ravens - With the way Lamar Jackson is playing? 0% chance. Lamar has the perfect system under Greg Roman and all things considered, they are set for the future.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs - Depends on if Patrick Mahomes suddenly leaves in free agency? Mahomes is getting paid 40+ million a year regardless but it will be the ultimate nail in the coffin for a super bowl window once it happens. Brady isn’t Mahomes. Though KC has an elite offense, Brady isn’t going there unless the sun doesn’t rise up tomorrow. 0% chance.

Denver Broncos - Maybe a year ago this could have been a real possibility. But GM and HOFer John Elway is committed to get the QB of the future. He bet on Peyton Manning years ago when he was released from the Indianapolis Colts in 2011. Elway took a gamble on him and it resulted in 2 Super Bowl appearances and 1 ring. Would he do the same with Brady? Possibly but Elway clearly wants to see more from 2nd round pick, Drew Lock from Missouri. If Elway felt likely betting on the short term again, then this could be an interesting team since they have a solid team but are not quite ready to be a playoff contender. Elway likely won’t pull the trigger unless he is not certain on Lock but would need to let him learn more of the offense. At the this time, 15% chance at best.

Oakland Raiders - The Raiders are going to be moving to Las Vegas after the 2019 season. And as of now, the situation with the Raiders is mainly on how far their rebuild can go. They still have their current QB Derek Carr under contract till 2023. As of 2020, Carr’s contract will still have a cap hit of $21,500,000 with dead cap of $5,000,000. While Carr has not been what he was in 2016, he is still a solid QB. But losing the pieces around him this past year such as WR Amari Cooper (who was traded to the Dallas Cowboys). The Raiders are fully committed to head coach Jon Gruden for the next 8 years (he was signed to a 10 year deal back in 2018) but there is a growing disconnect with Carr and Gruden. Carr struggled this past season due to not having the ability to extend plays the way players like Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson have shown to this year. If Gruden’s interest in moving on from Carr to get a better long term option, Brady is likely the furthest thing from that. But you can never tell in the NFL. Either way, it’s less than 10% chance Brady is going to the same team with Jon Gruden. (especially since Gruden still says that the Tuck Rule/Snowbowl Game should have been ruled a fumble even after 18 years)

Los Angeles Chargers - This team seems to be the hot connection for this month. But it’s one key issue is the offensive line. The team over the past 10 years has averaged at 18th in the league which is below average to say the least. Many can chalk that up to bad luck due to injuries seemingly always happening out of nowhere. However, the main reason for why this team has been talked as a possible team for Brady is because Philip Rivers has been on the downside of his career. Following their blowout loss to the Patriots in 2019, the Chargers fell off hard this season. Philip Rivers has been the QB of the Chargers since the mid-2000s. His family has been a main priority of his entire NFL career. (Literally has nine, I repeat, NINE KIDS to take care of!) It’s been reported that Rivers and his family likely are moving to the South Eastern United States which means his time with the Chargers is likely over. If Brady came in, it’s doubful he can fix this offensive line but the Chargers likely would do a workout just to gather interest. As of now, It would likely be a 50% chance that Brady ends on the Chargers. They have a very talented team with weapons like Kennan Allen, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon III. However, they need to improve that o-line and the team doesn’t have good track record when it comes to that. Plus, Brady’s name alone would sell out arenas in LA and that is a fact.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts - The Colts and the Patriots have a lot of history. Even before the re-alignment in 2002, these two teams were always battling it out in the AFC East before the Colts were moved to the AFC South. But the Colts this year had bad luck (Literally) in losing Andrew Luck to retirement before the season began. The Colts have the second highest amount of cap space in the NFL. (Nearly $92 million in total cap space) The Colts relied on Jacoby Brissett last year as their main starter at QB (formerly drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round in 2016). They would 7-9 for the year which was pretty heavy drop off from the yea before. Head Coach Frank Reich and GM Chris Ballard have a great culture and solid offense built already. The only thing missing is obviously a QB. Could Brady make a move to go there? It certainly is an entertaining possibility but who truly knows right now. The Colts have the right pieces in place and the cap, this should be considered a 60% chance of being a real thing. If the Colts play their cards right, they are back in playoff contention for next season.

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Tennessee Titans - Not likely. Mike Vrabel and QB Ryan Tannehill seem to be already likig what the future of the Titans are heading. Former 2015 2nd overall pick, Marcus Mariota is most likely a free agent after this season. But with how the team performed in the playoffs, there is little doubt that Tannehill is the guy going forward. Vrabel likes Brady but it’s at best 10% chance Brady goes to them unless something happens to Tannehill.

Jacksonville Jaguars - The team has a lot of problems stemming from short-sighted decisions from management. Former GM Tom Coughlin (former HC of the New York Giants) was relieved of duties this year due to disregarding player rights. And with Doug Marrone still there and with players likely avoiding the Jags for the time being until the dust settles, very little will bring the Jaguars to a Super Bowl. Less then 5% chance for Brady to go here right now.

Houston Texans - Unless Bill O’Brien gets fired and QB Deshaun Watson leaves in free agency (he won’t), Brady isn’t even touching this team. BOB was once part of the Patriots organization and Brady’s former OC. But it’s clear that his game planning is what led to the Texans short comings this year. And most likely his firing from the Head Coaching job. 0% chance of Brady being a part of this team.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz has been injury-prone since coming into the NFL. His contract was signed last year and they are staying committed to him going forward into the 2020s. (He is guaranteed over $100 million on his current contract so cutting him would be ridiculous). 0% chance.

New York Giants - Not likely. They drafted 6th overall, Daniel Jones from Duke last year. The young 22 year old QB has shown real promise this year and could be the starter for the foreseeable future. 0% chance of this happening as well.

Washington Redskins - The only thing that the Redskins have going on is that Dan Snyder is still their owner even after having little to not success since he took over as owner in 1999. The Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins in 2019 15th overall. The young QB is still adjusting to the NFL so it is doubtful that Brady would consider Washington any sort of ideal situation. 0% chance once more.

Dallas Cowboys - A lot of questions with this one. The Cowboys have some serious concerns this year with needing to re-sign Dak Prescott who is seeking to have over 35 million a year (which is not likely going to do the team much favors with their cap space). With the Cowboys offensive line and RB Ezekiel Elliot it can provide Brady plenty of help. Plus, the marketing with the biggest sports franchise on the planet, there can be a lot of opportunities. The question is on new Head Coach Mike McCarthy if he is willing to invest in an older QB. Right now, it seems less than 15% likely of happening.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers - Packers are invested in future HOFer Aaron Rodgers. They aren’t getting rid of a 35 year old QB just to move onto a 43 year old QB. 0% chance.

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Minnesota Vikings - Minnesota always have felt they are a piece away from contention. But they locked up Kirk Cousins for a fully guaranteed contract of $84 million dollars. He still owned that regardless if they cut him. 0% chance they try to go after Brady.

Detroit Lions - The article posted above was made back in 2018 when Matt Patricia had his first year with the Lions. Looking at it now, Matthew Stafford could still be up on the trading block since the team has failed to win a playoff game even with having him anchored for over a decade now. However a trade would be the only this works because Brady would be signing with the team in this scenario and Stafford is under contract till 2023. If Matt Patricia wants to embrace the Patriots way, Brady is the go-to-guy who has followed that philosophy his entire NFL career in New England. But the main thing holding back this theory is that Brady would need a lot of help to make a run and there is little confidence in that being possible in a 2-3 year window. Around 10% chance of that happening.

Chicago Bears - This Bears team is quite literally a QB away from being a playoff contender again. Yes, Mitch Trubisky is not the clear answer at QB that GM Ryan Pace wanted in 2017. (Picking him ahead of both Watson and Mahomesis a crime but it’s worse that he actually traded up to get him too) The Bears have one of the best defensive units in the NFL when fully healthy and have an offense with some serious firepower. (Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton etc.) The Bears have some issues to work out in the running game but Matt Nagy has shown he is also going through the trials that every Head Coach will face when they are handicapped on offense with a QB with limited processing and ability to read the field past the first read. Having a veteran like Brady whose greatest asset is his ability to progress through is someone that could massively benefit from that. As of now, the Bears main issue is their ownership and management being clearly out of wack. If Brady has to deal with the McCaskeys then he will be in for a pretty rough time. But it’s maybe a 40% chance of actually happening.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals - Considering that new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury not only just drafted Heisman winner Kyler Murray in 2019. He also traded away former first round pick, Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for less value. That should tell you right there why there is 0% chance Brady finds a way into Arizona. Too bad though because Brady playing with WR Larry Fitzgerald would be must watch.

Los Angeles Rams - Their cap space is an absolute mess. They just paid several key players huge contract money and just got Jalen Ramsey traded for two first round picks from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Their front office only focuses on big names to help sell t-shirts and not actually making a proper team. Despite having a genius in Head Coach Sean McVay, they already signed Jared Goff to a massive extension this past off-season. 0% chance in Brady going here when they already signed their future away.

Seattle Seahawks - They signed Russell Wilson to highest contract in NFL history. And considering the state of the offensive line, it’s only going to get worse for the team moving into the 2020s. Right now, Brady isn’t going to do anything with Seattle, 0% chance in this happening.

San Francisco 49ers - Brady’s team growing up. Joe Montana was his idol and the person he wanted to be most. Would Brady kill to be a 49er to live his dream? Certainly. Problem is they are in the Super Bowl and very likely are going take it all. So why would they want Brady now when they requested for him in a trade that could happened nearly 3 years ago. Brady would likely get rejected sadly. 0% chance of that happening with Jimmy G already the new face of Santa Clara.

NFC South

New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater are both free agents this off-season. Brady could sweep in for cheap and potentially get a chance here but the Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton, has inquired that Brees will likely return for next season. Now if Brees were to follow ex-Cowboys QB Toy Romo to the broadcast booth, that could be an other story. There are reports Brees could be asked to do a role as an on-air commentator but that has yet to be seen. But as for the team, the Saints are loaded at every position and that is still the case going into 2020. Brady could make it happen but right now that is seemingly unlikely. Payton has a very fixed idea of where he will go but it’s doubtful he would see a 43 year old replacing a 41 year old as a smart investment unless he wants to go all in on one more ring. As of today, around 20% chance that this can happen.

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Carolina Panthers - This team has a lot of issues. First they have a new Head Coach fresh out of college named Matt Rhule. While he is a hot new coach with a seemingly strong first impression, its unknown what he or the new management will have in store going into next season. Could Brady find success on this team? It’s certainly not impossible with play makers like Christian McCaffery on offense. However, what is holding Brady back here is the defense. Losing future HOF LB Luke Kuechly this off-season is a massive blow to the locker room and to the identity of that defense. Brady needs money but also needing to carry the load with a defense that needs retooling. If Kuechly stayed the chances would have been roughly 15% but now it’s closer to 5% now.

Atlanta Falcons - Atlanta invested into Matt Ryan and are in the middle of a potientially rebuild. No way is Brady approaching this team as they currently are now with Dan Quinn likely on the hot seat going into next year. 0% chance.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This ironically could be the team that goes the most under the radar. The Buccaneers have an defense that is seemingly improving with Shaq Barrett earning a team record 19.5 sacks on the year. The Bucs offense is quite frankly terrifying. WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are an excellent no.1 and no.2 receiver duo and TE OJ Howard would instantly show real improvement if Brady were under center. The Bucs invested a lot into former no.1 overall pick Jameis Winston and it’s showing it’s ugly head how bad it’s been for the last five seasons. Winston isn’t the answer, and Head Coach Bruce Arians has a very complex style of offense. While Arians has a very strong track record as the QB whisper (coaching Ben Roethlisburger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer is pretty impressive), it clearly hasn’t worked with Winston who is the first QB in NFL history to throw 30+ TDs and 30 INTs. No matter the circumstance, that isn’t good. Brady is a player that can instantly cut those interceptions in half. If the Bucs could lower the turnovers to literally half this year, they would likely be closer to 9-7 or 10-6 and not 7-9. Right now, it would be a tough sell but the Buccaneers are most definitely not willing to pay Winston 30 million a year. Right now, probably around 30% chance this could materialize into anything.

Overall: Brady Isn’t Going Anywhere

Despite the long analysis Brady isn’t likely to leave New England despite what the media will tell us. Brady, Belichick and Kraft have made it through a lot and this season they came up short. It’s better to work out differences, lick our wounds and just focus on next season. Sure, the Patriots need to get a TE or another WR but the Pats have alot of things to work out. But if Brady feels confident in himself and can get another shot at a ring, he will likely re-sign with the Patriots. They went 12-4 and won the AFC East for the 17th time in his career. People need to calm down and understand that this team’s success is never getting topped within the salary cap era. This whole article was about what would be best for Brady’s success going forward. And right now, the Patriots are still the best option outside of a few teams.

Written By

Stephen is a Contributing Editor for Trifecta Sports Network and covers the New England Patriots and the NFL.

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