Making the case for the rest of the NFL to sign Tom Brady
With Tom Brady becoming a free agent for just the second time in his 5,000-year career, it's time to seriously consider what the quarterback might do in 2023. That is, provided the quarterback who will turn 46 years old this summer decides to continue his fight against Father Time by playing in his 24th NFL season. Each day, we'll explore one possible option for Brady. We've looked at the Las Vegas Raiders, the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. Today, we'll quickly look at everyone else who might be involved in the pursuit of Brady.
BOSTON -- We've run through the likeliest candidates to go after and/or land Tom Brady this offseason, with the Las Vegas Raiders standing as the clear favorites for several reasons.
After that, we explored three AFC East possibilities, each with different levels of probability. The Dolphins perhaps make the most sense of that trio.
Now, let's quickly take a look at any and all teams who might dip their toes into the Tom Brady water in the coming weeks and months.
First, teams we can rule out, because they're either good at QB or locked in to a massive contract at QB or because Brady would never go there: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Kansas City, L.A. (Chargers and Rams), Houston, Indianapolis, Denver, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay (for now), Chicago, Carolina, Atlanta, Arizona.
As for potential teams, there's the real New York team, the New York Giants. While it would be kind of insane to see Brady suit up for the team that ruined his dreams of perfection in February 2008 before slamming shut some more Super Bowl dreams four years later, enough time has passed and enough Super Bowls have been collected by Brady for all of that to feel like ancient history. In their first year under Brian Daboll, the Giants had a five-win improvement and made the playoffs. Daniel Jones was good for Daniel Jones ... but he may have bumped his head on his own ceiling. Getting Brady and a receiver or two could make the Giants dangerous next season, while buying them some time to find their QB of the future.
Elsewhere in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers would provide a storybook ending of sorts for the Bay Area-born-and-raised Brady. He's only played in San Francisco twice in his career, so getting to play for the team he grew up rooting for would be a rather sweet way for Brady to end his career. It's just ... GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't really have interest in him when he was available in 2020. So why would they have more interest when he's three years old? The Niners also have to play Trey Lance at some point, and Brock Purdy showed he's good enough to run the ship next year if Lance really struggles. The Niners would be a great story but unfortunately don't look like a match.
Over in the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers present an intriguing possibility. While the city of Pittsburgh will never love Tom Brady, there's a chance that the team pokes around a bit after having Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky under center last season. (Those two QBs combined for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.) A four-game win streak to end the year got the Steelers above .500 at season's end, and it's not crazy to imagine them seeing a quarterback like Brady helping them increase their win total by a few games next season. They'd still be considered a dark horse, but they'd make for one captivating landing spot.
Theoretically, if Aaron Rodgers did force his way out of town, the Green Bay Packers could consider the idea of going from Rodgers to Brady. But that involves some moving parts and still feels out of the picture, especially with Jordan Love presumably ready to play football at some point in his career?
Perhaps a more realistic NFC team would be the New Orleans Saints. Geographically, it wouldn't involve a major change for Brady, and the allure of restoring the Saints' offense to Drew Brees levels could be very real. Still, the Saints were 7-10 last year, Michael Thomas has played 10 games in the past three seasons, and the team might not be headed anywhere.
The Seattle Seahawks may be in the QB market ... but also might not, after Geno Smith played surprisingly well last year. The Tyler Lockett-D.J. Metcalf duo would be appealing, but a move out West at this point of his career to join a team that's been mediocre or worse for two years might not be the most sensible move for Brady.
The Tennessee Titans made a lot of sense in 2020, and you'll never convince me that the unnamed that mother-bleeper was anyone but Ryan Tannehill. But if the Titans moved on from Tannehill now, they'd be stuck with almost $19 million in dead cap money. Plus, Derrick Henry is no longer at the height of his powers, and A.J. Brown is gone. The Mike Vrabel-Tom Brady reunion ship has sailed.
Add it all up, and if you're going to pick someone from this crop of teams, the Giants feel like a real fit, while the Steelers might be the most interesting.
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