Tom Brady is in the midst of one of the most historical careers we have ever seen in modern history.
The New England Patriots quarterback has one of the best legacies in not only NFL history but possibly of any athlete … ever.
For the past few years, it seems as if the end is near for Brady and the Patriots dynasty, but all they have done since is rack up the wins and Super Bowl victories. Over two decades of dominance, one thing has remained constant and the nucleus of it all. Brady and Bill Belichick are arguably the greatest head coach-quarterback pairing of all time, but more than any other season, the Patriots don't seem as invincible as they have in the past.
Brady is 42 years old and it has shown in his play. His passes seem to taper off, and the whispers out of Foxborough, Massachusettes, are a bit louder than what we're accustomed to. The Patriots secured their 11th straight AFC East title, but it was not easy. It required New England to overcome a 17-13 deficit with back-to-back scoring drives that had to be capped off by neutralizing the Buffalo Bills on a final drive in the waning moments of the game.
Even though the Patriots suffered a few hiccups last season, they seem to be poised for another record-setting playoff run, but it didn't come to fruition. That's not to say that the situation under-center seems a bit odd this year. In unexplainable ways, the marriage between Brady and the Patriots could be exiting its final stages.
Brady signed an extension prior to the 2019 season but is now scheduled to become a free agent in the coming week, leaving some to believe that we may have seen the last of him suiting up for the Patriots. New England has always been unafraid to move on from veterans that have looked over the hill or exiting their prime.
In what seemed like a never-ending marriage, Brady and New England may head towards something we never saw coming. It'd be hard to fathom the six-time Super Bowl champion ever suiting up for another team, but that possibility may come to fruition for what's scheduled to be one of the bigger offseason decisions in team history.
Brady is one that will not go down quietly as he's already voiced his opinion of wanting to play until he 45 years old, but will the team be willing to remain that patient? That remains to be seen. Regardless, there's an interesting domino yet to fall and the biggest piece to what is known as the greatest dynasty in all of sports.
This is where it's tough to draw the line. There's a slippery slope in that teams that are interested in Brady must make sure that they are paying for what he brings in the future instead of what he's done in the past. Spotrac estimates his value at $33.8 million a year, which would put him right at the bottom of the top-five highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. A risky proposition for any team making that kind of investment, even if it's a soon to be 43-year-old QB that is a six-time Super Bowl champion.
POTENTIAL LANDING SPOTS
New England Patriots
The most likely landing spot is to return to the only team that he's ever suited up for. While the Patriots will have a certain price in mind, it's hard to see the team not at least making an aggressive effort to get Brady back where he belongs. With the rich history and tradition that the bond has formed throughout his career, it'd be hard-pressed to see Brady entertain any outside offers until he completely hears out what the organization has to offer going forward. A two-year extension that's structured as a 1-plus-1 deal that's essentially a one-year contract with a team or player option for another season is a realistic option that both sides to agree upon.
Las Vegas Raiders
The only other team that I could see Brady somehow suiting up for next season is the Raiders. Why? Moving to a new city, the franchise will want to build excitement somehow and even though he's entering the waning moments of his career, signing Brady would drive ticket sales through the roof.
Looking back over Jon Gruden's most successful seasons as a head coach, two of them came under Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson. Two veterans that were seen as possibly being over the hill, but rebounded to have solid closing moments to their careers. The same could be said for Brady as I could see a situation where Gruden examines what was successful for him in the past and seeing a similar situation that could unfold with Brady under center.
Still locked into the early stages of a 10-year contract, this is the exact type of risk that would intrigue Gruden still knowing that he possibly has years in the middle and on the back-end to correct the mishap if it turned out to be there. Plenty of questions still remain about Derek Carr, who has struggled with consistency throughout his time with the franchise. A more productive season a year ago, but there still seems to be a sense of emptiness with his development in certain areas.