Barring any unforeseen change, longtime New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 20-year career on March 18. Since making an appearance at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday night, the individual considered the “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All-Time) has been the subject of heavy debate on many major sports media outlets. Specifically, everyone is debating or pondering the same question.
Is Tom Brady really considering leaving the Patriots, and where will he go?
Brady, 42, is clearly the most successful player in National Football League history, having won a record six Super Bowls since entering the league as the 199th overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft. After what can be considered a heralded college career during his time at the University of Michigan, the California native fell to the sixth round and was stunned when six other quarterbacks were drafted before him.
Because of the fall, Brady has played his entire career with a chip on his shoulder. Having built a legacy fueled by proving doubters and naysayers wrong. He has suggested that despite being in the twilight of his career, there is still something he has left to prove.
That is where the speculation begins.
In August 2019, Brady re-worked his contract with New England to void after this season. Also, the language was negotiated into that agreement that prevents the Patriots from designating their Franchise Tag on him. Subsequently, the revised contract gives him the leverage to dictate his future plans.
Both he and his personal trainer have already listed their Massachusetts homes for sale, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this fall. At times, it’s been reported that he is embarrassed by his contracts throughout his playing career and the fact that his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, makes more money than he does.
Brady has been notorious over the last 19 seasons for re-negotiating his player contracts in favor of New England’s salary cap so that the team would have more financial ability to surround him with better and more expensive free agents. As a result, the three-time NFL MVP has sacrificed over $60 Million in his career. Also, ESPN Get Up’s Paul “Hembo” Hembekides, a lead researcher for the daily morning television show, reported earlier Tuesday morning that 48% of the quarterback’s career earnings have been via signing bonus.
With his playing window closing, it’s been rumored Brady wants to be paid what he believes he is deserved after years of taking hometown discounts.
This is where the failure to connect begins.
Head Coach Bill Belichick is the ultimate decision-maker regarding ALL New England Patriots’ player personnel moves. It’s been rumored that there is friction between both he and the legendary quarterback that dates back to the drama surrounding the Jimmy Garappolo trade with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.
Despite being traded for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (LB/Ja’Whaun Bentley/Purdue), it has often been suggested that Belichick would have preferred to keep Garappolo long-term. However, it is also rumored that team owner Robert Kraft became involved in the process. Because of Kraft’s admiration for Brady, who he considers to be “like a son”, it was ultimately decided that Brady would be retained and that his potential successor would be moved to another team.
Only three seasons removed from the debacle, the fairytale ending that Kraft and Brady hoped to produce looks less likely to happen each and every day, as we approach the March 18th deadline.
“I’m open-minded about the process,” Brady reportedly said in an interview with Westwood One Radio, according to ESPN when also asked whether he’d be willing to play elsewhere. “At the same time, I love playing football and I want to continue to play and do a great job. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. Whatever the future may bring, I’ll embrace it with open arms.”
When visiting UFC 246 on Saturday night, Brady crossed paths with Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis. Public buzz and rumors began swirling on social media when photos of the two together surfaced shortly after the event.
It is a realistic possibility that Brady ends up with the Raiders or any NFL team in need of an upgrade at the quarterback position.
At the end of the day, every professional athlete has an ego whether it be minuscule or monumental. Brady has sacrificed over the years in favor of building his jewelry collection AKA Super Bowl rings. Now, he wants to get his while also silencing critics that suggest he is nothing more than a product of Belichick’s winning system. Also, the fire inside him to continue competing still burns red-hot,
The idea of Brady trading in his colors is 100% real.
Other NFL greats like Payton Manning, Brett Favre, and Joe Montana have all traded in their colors in the twilight of their careers to continue competing at the sports highest level despite their teams being ready to move on to new eras.
Here’s the bottom line: Brady holds a 30-11 career playoff record (.732 Winning %). Four Super Bowl MVP’s and is near the top of the NFL’s career passing lists in a multitude of categories.
Those achievements, along with the others previously mentioned are good enough for any team looking to…
- Add an experienced, veteran signal-caller to a team with playoff or Super Bowl aspirations
- Add an experienced, veteran signal-caller to a team looking for a mentor to bring along a young, future “franchise” quarterback.
- Add an experienced, veteran signal-caller who still has star power and can sell tickets for a team simply looking to cash in on the fame.
It’s said that one man’s trash can become another man’s treasure. Even if Belichick doesn’t value Brady in the same way he once did, the quarterback certainly has the potential to be an asset to one of the other 31 NFL teams in some capacity.
Brady is worth the investment and still capable of playing at a high level if surrounded by the proper pieces. This year he didn’t have that, and there are now concerns about his regression.
Still, he is the G.O.A.T. and because of the chip that still remains on his shoulder, it can be presumed that he will not fade into the sunset quietly.