The quarterback carousel already is spinning.
Nearly two weeks after a report emerged that the Raiders will target Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in free agency, a new report puts some monetary meat on the bone.
Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a long-time member of the media in Minnesota and the father of future first-ballot Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, reports that the Raiders are ready to offer Brady $60 million over two years.
Although this one (like the Bernie Smilovitz report of Matthew Stafford trade talks) doesn’t come from someone with an extensive track record of breaking NFL news, my knee-jerk reaction is to believe it, for several reasons. First, I know Fitzgerald Sr. and I’m prepared to say that, if he’s saying it, he’s definitely hearing it from someone who would know. Second, he’s in position to have heard it from someone who knows what’s going on, given the people he knows in the broader NFL structure, thanks both to his own connections and his son’s. Third, although the window for talking to agents about pending free agents doesn’t open until March 16, there are too many teams and too many quarterbacks for the process of preparing and making offers not to have already begun.
The number isn’t surprising, not with the market for quarterbacks at $35 million per year. For Brady, the bigger question will be fit, with team, coaching staff, city, and offense. It’s a new football city in a new football stadium and, for Brady, a new offense with a new coach who has a reputation for being more than a little aggressive with his quarterbacks.
When Simms and I recently addressed the possibility of Brady to the Raiders, Simms explained that Gruden long has been in awe of Brady, explaining once that Brady looks cool simply walking off the field. (Hopefully they won’t go rock climbing.) Gruden seemingly has restrained his profane rants while coaching Derek Carr for fear of having him crumble under the weight of Gruden’s aggressive vocabulary. If Gruden is coaching the greatest quarterback of all time, it would probably be much easier to hold the F bombs.
But will Brady (and his family) want to live in Las Vegas? Will he want to play in the same division as the Chiefs, which means he’d face Patrick Mahomes and be called old by Chris Jones at least twice per year, and the Broncos, especially in light of his repeated struggles in games played at Denver?
So for now it’s an option for Brady, one that he’ll have to consider along with the Patriots and any other team that pulls up to the table and drops $30 million or more per year on top of it. And for Carr, it may be time to start thinking about lining up a new seat in the game of quarterback musical chairs, because it feels like — one way or ther other — he’s never going to be living in that house that he built next door to Jon Gruden’s in Las Vegas.