When trying to identify potential fits for Tom Brady in 2020 if, as some think, he’s destined to leave the Patriots, I left out one team that maybe should have been included.
Yes, they have a quarterback. They also have everything else that would give a quarterback like Brady a chance to win a Super Bowl with another team, if he truly intends to play for another team.
Remember when the 49ers traded for Brady understudy Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017? The conversation began with 49ers G.M. John Lynch asking not about the availability of Garoppolo but about the availability of Brady.
The chatter about Garoppolo being in a make-or-break year has subsided as the 49ers have racked up win after win, but Garoppolo’s numbers aren’t phenomenal through six games. He has seven touchdown passes against six interceptions, and he has two lost fumbles. He’s not in the top 20 in passer rating among starting quarterbacks, and he’s 27th in average passing yards per game, with 219.
Garoppolo’s contract gives the 49ers plenty of flexibility to explore Brady before making a decision about Garoppolo, with $15.7 million of his 2020 salary not becoming fully guaranteed until April 1, and a cap hit of only $4.2 million if they trade or cut him.
Brady grew up a 49ers fan. He attended, as you’ve surely heard a time or two (or twenty) as a young boy the historic 1981 NFC Championship game against the Cowboys, capped by “The Catch.”
Then there’s the reported rivalry/dysfunction/whatever between Brady and Garoppolo that contributed to the Garoppolo trade during the 2017 season. If there’s a score to settle or whatever, the 49ers dumping Garoppolo for Brady could settle it. (Garoppolo could then go back to New England, possibly via trade.)
The 49ers apparently wouldn’t be getting Brady for one year but for three, if he truly means it when he says he wants to play until he’s 45. During those three years, those notorious traffic problems in Santa Clara would both get worse, and also get better.
Again, Brady’s best move would be to not move at all, if he’s planning to play in 2020. But if we’re going to peg places he could play in 2020, the 49ers perhaps should be at the top of the list — even though they presumably have a quarterback at the top of their depth chart for 2020 and beyond.