The rumors that have been swirling around as to where Tom Brady will play this season have exceeded the gossip that takes place at a high school cafeteria.
On March 18th Brady will become an unrestricted free-agent for the first time in his legendary 20-year career. Brady has been tied to nearly a dozen teams including the possibility of returning to Foxboro.
Patriots fans can’t wrap their heads around the fact that Brady might leave for greener pastures after winning six Super Bowls and three league MVPs while earning the title – The GOAT – The Greatest Of All Time.
The list of great quarterbacks that did not end their careers with their original team is quite long: Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning to name a few.
Tom Brady’s dad, Tom Sr., has stated for years that he believes his son will end his career in a different uniform than the Patriots and that the transition will not be pretty.
— John Sapochetti (@johnsap25) March 9, 2020
After 20 years in a stringent environment, the 42-year-old Brady has stated, by way of his wife Gisele Bundchen, on the documentary Tom vs. Time, that Brady would like to play in a place that appreciates what he has done for two decades and the millions of dollars that he has left on the table by playing for below market value. Brady is still looking for his first compliment from head coach Bill Belichick.
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I believe their relationship began to sour on draft night 2014 when Belichick spent a 2nd round pick on quarterback Jimmy Garappolo. At that time Belichick referenced Tom’s
age (soon to be 37) and his contract.
Furthermore, Belichick, and to a lesser extent owner Robert Kraft, did not exactly support Brady during “Deflategate”. By 2017 Belichick was forced to trade Jimmy G further fracturing the relationship between coach and quarterback.
So here we are on the precipice of Brady heading to a new team.
I honestly can’t see Brady returning to the Patriots. The numbers just don’t add up if he wants to be paid fair market value while adding weapons to last year’s plodding offense.
Why would the Patriots commit to multiple seasons with Brady at age 43 when they didn’t want to go more than one year when he was a year younger?
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Also, I know it is blasphemous to say that Brady’s play has slipped. But it has. His Passer Rating the last four seasons has gone from 112 to 103 to 98 to a below league average 88 last season. While his weapons were pedestrian in 2019, “Prime” Brady always elevated those around him. Since he can no longer do that, it is a logical deduction that his play has eroded.
The Patriots spent a first-round pick last year on wide receiver N’Keal Harry as well as trading a future second-round pick at midseason for veteran wideout Mohamed Sanu. Neither move worked.
If I were a betting man I would wager that the Los Angeles Chargers will be the place Brady lands.
While we have heard about the Raiders, Titans, 49ers, and Buccaneers as possible destinations for Brady, it is the Chargers who need Brady more than he needs them.
The Chargers will be moving into a beautiful new stadium which is owned by the Rams with whom they will share it.
The Chargers are lagging far behind in season tickets sales as well as critical personal seat licenses. Adding the GOAT and still one of the biggest stars in the sport would more than pay for a potential two or three year deal with an average annual value of $30 million. The old business axiom that it takes money to make money applies here.
The Chargers are the 7th most popular football team in Los Angeles. The Rams are more popular than the Chargers while teams like the Packers, Cowboys, and Steelers have national brands that supersede both the Rams and Chargers in Southern California. A strong case can be made that both major college programs, USC and UCLA, get more traction than the Lightning Bolts.
In addition, storied franchises like the Lakers and Dodgers are by far the most prominent teams in L.A.
Los Angeles is a star-driven market with the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger among a galaxy of stars. Who better to add to that constellation than Thomas Patrick Edward Brady in that gorgeous powder blue Chargers uniform.
John Sapochetti is co-host of the “Sap & Kat Show”, heard on FullPressCoverage
Follow him on Twitter @JohnSap25
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