Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has been linked to a potential return to the New England Patriots, according to The Athletic. Brady is playing on an expiring contract and it’s plausible to envision him playing elsewhere in 2023. A reunion in New England would be a bad idea for all parties involved, however.
Brady should have an interest in playing elsewhere in 2023. The greatest quarterback of all time is still playing at a high enough level to consider extending his career. The Buccaneers are currently witnessing their Super Bowl window slam shut despite Brady’s presence. Their roster is littered with holes and the nucleus of their coaching staff has come into question. Brady should possess little interest in re-signing with the Buccaneers.
Make no mistake, he’ll have his suitors. Should he indeed become a free agent, Brady will be connected to the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders. A California native, signing with the 49ers would allow Brady to play closer to home. Head coach Kyle Shanahan possesses a brilliant offensive mind and his 49ers possess a Super Bowl-worthy roster outside of the quarterback position. Jimmy Garoppolo will be a free agent and the jury remains out on Trey Lance. Shanahan may be unwilling to spend another season searching for answers regarding Lance’s potential. The 49ers remain in win-now-or-bust mode. Brady would elevate their expectations.
The Raiders make sense as well. General manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels possess a terrific relationship with Brady following their years together in New England. Brady and McDaniels enjoyed a historic amount of success as a quarterback-OC duo.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t taken to McDaniels’ scheme in the anticipated fashion. It’s known to be a complicated system that requires an acclimation period. Brady has more than proven his firm grip on McDaniels’ playbook. Should Carr be traded this offseason, the Raiders could enter the Brady sweepstakes.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick should experience an aggressive offseason. The Patriots are currently scheduled to possess approximately $50 million in cap space, per Spotrac. Belichick should spend his financial freedom surrounding his young quarterbacks with more talent than their current roster boasts.
The Patriots may be forced to make a quarterbacking decision this offseason. It’s one that shouldn’t involve Brady. Mac Jones is still proving himself as a franchise quarterback. Rookie backup signal-caller Bailey Zappe captured the hearts of Patriots faithful during a short-lived stint as the starter.
The Patriots have enough of a quarterback conundrum on their hands. Both Jones and Zappe will possess value as potential offseason trade candidates. The Patriots may be forced to choose between their young quarterbacks. Everything they achieve following that decision should focus on improving the environment around their chosen quarterback. Upgrading the supporting cast is a necessity, particularly in an AFC East division that now looks like the most competitive quartet in the league.
And finally, there’s a fractured relationship to consider. There’s no doubt that Brady and Belichick maintain cordial correspondence and mutual respect. It’d be impossible not to given all they achieved. But their dueling personalities also led to the most public and controversial breakup in professional sports history. Neither party seems overly anxious to revive ancient history.
Brady’s free-agent dealings would dominate the league’s offseason headlines. Suitors will make aggressive pitches to land the services of a seven-time Super Bowl winner. The Patriots won’t be one of them.
- Feb 07, 2023
- Feb 07, 2023