Inevitably, Pats must plan for life without Brady

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his family may be permanently relocating from their moated L.A. mansion to Boston, but at some point he’ll pno longer be the quarterback of the local NFL team, permanently.

Said team’s decision to host the likes of Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel, while not believed to be intended to yield Brady’s successor, brings into focus — at least temporarily — the reality that, at some point, the Pats will transition from Brady to someone else.

It’s a problem every team with a Hall of Fame quarterback faces.  And rarely does a Steve Young fall into a franchise’s lap.  For the Patriots, the question becomes whether planning for eventual life without Brady makes more sense than devoting draft picks (especially first-rounders) to helping him win another Super Bowl or two before he retires, or is retired.

The Packers faced that prospect nine years ago, opting to stop Aaron Rodgers’ round-one free fall and to squirrel him away in the event Brett Favre’s annual game of will-I-or-won’t-I left Green Bay without its long-time starter.  Favre surely would have preferred having that selection devoted to someone who would have helped the team advance past, for example, the Giants in the 2007 NFC title game.  By taking Rodgers, the Packers passed on players like Roddy White, Heath Miller, and Logan Mankins.

For the Patriots, what will they do if Manziel or Bridgewater remain on the board at No. 29?  Bringing them in for a visit helps better position the Pats to make that decision, if/when the opportunity arises.  But using that pick on either player means that someone else who could help the team win now will be left on the board.

Of course, Bill Belichick and company can hope to find another future Hall of Famer lurking in round six, but that sort of lightning strikes far more rarely than twice every 14 years.  And it may never happen two times for the same franchise, ever.

No matter what form the plan takes, Belichick surely will have one.  The Colts suffered through one horrible season with Peyton Manning injured to fall into position to get Andrew Luck, Belichick won’t rely on good fortune when it comes to the quarterback position.  With his own legacy incomplete until his accomplishments without Tom Brady are known, a real challenge is lurking for the man regarded by many as the best coach in NFL history.

Brady’s revised contract will make it easier to justify keeping him around for 2015, 2016, and 2017, since the salaries are ridiculously low in comparison to the quarterback market.  At some point, however, Belichick may decide that the sun is rising for a young quarterback before it has fully set on the one-time upstart who’ll be 37 when the Patriots play their first regular-season game of 2014.

27 responses to “Inevitably, Pats must plan for life without Brady

  1. 11-5 in 2008 without Brady. I have seen the Packers, Steelers, and Colts barf all over themselves without their franchise QBs. NE won 11 games.

  2. Belichick didn’t win anything before Brady and won’t win anything after Brady. And look how many OC’s Brady has sent on to head coaching jobs. Some players are coach killers. A rare few are coach makers. And I’m not a Pats fan or a Brady fan.

  3. Replacing Brady will be difficult but Belicick is the guy who can do it without the fortunes of the team falling apart like they did in Indianapolis when Manning left.

  4. If Belichick’s smart, he’ll retire right after Brady.

    Otherwise, he’s Mike Shanahan.

    11-5 in 2008 without Brady. Missed the playoffs.

  5. 11-5 and division champ with Bernie Kosar as well. Then they announced they were moving the team before the next season. It’s a joke that he was considered a failure in Cleveland.

  6. So what is the story of Ryan Mallett. I thought they were grooming him as Tom’s replacement? Is he not the guy or trade bait?

  7. I think the story was draft him and he backs up Brady, if Brady retired then you have a potential QB replacement. If he doesn’t then you either trade Mallett (like they did with Cassell) or let him walk and draft/sign another backup.

  8. “With his own legacy incomplete until his accomplishments without Tom Brady are known…”

    Huh? Pats were 11-5 without Brady in 2008, and that was with a backup QB, not a franchise replacement. To me, that is a coaching legacy. True, they didn’t make the playoffs that year, but that’s more indicative of a strong division, not a weak team. Eleven wins with a backup QB is impressive. I would be far more worried about losing Belichick than Brady.

  9. just keep an eye on college QB’s that have a great junior year…. let TB retire at the end of that season, bring Tebow back to tank the following season, draft the college phenom after his senior year… dynasty resumes

  10. No draft choice made in place of Rodgers could have prevented Favre from throwing the killer interception against the Giants.

  11. Favre already had Jarrett Bush on the roster. If Bush would’ve simply fallen on the fumbled punt late in the game, chances are the Packers win in regulation.

  12. If they do a draft a QB, this will only light a fire under Brady. He is ultra competitive. It’s been a real treat to watch him, even though he smokes my team.

  13. Belichick’s legacy is not in question even if he doesn’t win a game without Brady? Show me the HOF coach that won without a great QB? How many championships did Lombardi get without Starr? Do we question his legacy? Of course not. Not even a fan of the hoodie but to say his legacy isn’t in tact with 3 Super Bowls is just silly.

  14. 11-5 in 2008 without Brady. That was a different time for the Patriots. 6 years ago NE was considered favorites to be in the Super Bowl. Top ranked free agents were willing to play for less money to “win a SB”. Their own free agents also were more willing to resign with the team. They were able to stack their team with good players who wanted to win a SB while still staying under the cap. Moss took a 6million dollar pay cut to catch passes in 2007. Do you honestly think a WR would do that now?
    NE was able to go 11-5 with a backup QB but were 16-0 with Brady the year prior. A 4 or 5 game swing is the norm for a backup QB. FA helped make that team. Look at their drafts from 2007-08. NE lived off good FA signings. Now they have to pay fair value for FA. Case in point Revis (no 6+ million discount).
    Even fewer players are going to be willing to play for NE as they try to find their next franchise QB.

  15. Besides people being wrong about Belichick failing in Cleveland, he was also the architect of the great Giant defenses that led to two more rings in the late 80’s. The great Tuna never won a SB without BB. His legacy is secure even if he never wins another gm. Did it during the salary cap era too, and wrote the book on how. Watch out this yr.

  16. I’m a radical Steeler fan but if–as an outside observer–you don’t have respect for what Belichick and Brady have done, you have no business watching pro ball.

    Brady is nothing short of phenomenal and Belichick is without question the greatest football mind the NFL has ever seen. He’s constantly adapted to whatever hand he’s dealt.

    The game will be less relevant and intriguing when these two are no longer a part of it.

  17. The facts are:

    1. Belichick has made the playoffs once in 7 tries without Brady.

    2. Belichick has made the playoffs 12 out of 13 times with him.

    3. The 2008 team that missed the playoffs had an easy schedule.

    So, the chances are great that there will be a significant drop-off when Brady retires.

  18. I love how the two Favre comments are right after each other.

    One, a Packer fan, talks about how Favre threw that INT in that game, overlooking the wide open Ryan Grant #25 for a first down and instead forcing it to Donald Driver.

    The other is a Favre fan, who loves the gunslinger and finds something else to blame. Yes other mistakes were made during the game but the Packers were in control and Favre did what he did and ended it with an int.

    Love the guy but I don’t missed closing minutes of games, being on the edge if my seat saying, no Int, no Int….

  19. Next man up? Seems to be the Pats mantra, works well for the too. Mallet’s got a cannon but seems to get flustered in the Lime Light of REAL game action, shines kind of in preseason but not the way to go for N.E. HE’S a back up not a starter for a reason!!!

  20. Brady/Belichick best Coach/QB in NFL? I’m a Pats fan and seems to be the most common thread of thought in NFL circles and fan comments, even if you hate the Pats and are stuck on Spygate or Tuck rule ya know I’m right, Knoll/Bradsha= awesome and I hate Tin Men and Rothlesberger with a passion and Bradshaws a boob but GREAT QB. Been watchin NFL since my first game at Fenway Park and BOSTON Patriots at 10yrs old so I got some references, suffered through all those playoff baron years and humiliating SB losses to GB and CHIcago, as a FAN it was gut wrenching to watch so I know how St Louis fans feel when the greatest show on turf went down the the Pats 02/2002.

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