It’s one thing to subtly express interest in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady now, weeks before free agency opens. It’s quite another to pursue Brady once March 18 arrives and other quarterbacks get gobbled up by other teams while the #TommyVanityTour unfolds over the ensuing days and possibly weeks.
So which teams that may be interested in Brady can afford to press pause on the pursuit of other options while waiting for Brady to make up his mind. Simms and I took a deep dive into this issue during Thursday’s #PFTOT. A summary of our primary thoughts on six potentially interested teams appears below. For more, watch the video.
Raiders: They have Derek Carr under contract for 2020 and beyond. So they can hold the bird in the hand while pursuing the Brady in the bush. If they don’t land Brady, however, the Raiders would lose out on the opportunity to upgrade via an available veteran. And it’s obvious that, whether the Raiders make a move or not, they’re constantly looking for someone better.
Chargers: Tyrod Taylor has been penciled in as the starter, which gives the Chargers the ability to pursue a much bigger fish. But if they don’t reel Brady into the boat, the Chargers will have a hard time getting folks in L.A. excited about the prospects for 2020 — unless they plan to trade up in the draft for one of the big-name rookies. And unless another team tries to trade for Cam Newton, he could be a viable Plan B, if the Chargers can’t bring Brady back to California.
Titans: Some want to see the Titans go after Brady, which ignores the 2019 accomplishments of Ryan Tannehill. Regardless, the Titans will have to decide on keeping Tannehill before chasing Brady. Otherwise they’ll have neither, if Brady goes elsewhere.
Buccaneers: Like the Titans, the Bucs will need to make a quick decision about Jameis Winston or other free agents. If they wait for Brady and don’t get him, the Bucs may be SOL when it comes to a veteran option.
Colts: Like the Titans and the Bucs, the Colts may need to move quickly if they hope to upgrade from Jacoby Brissett. And if they’re thinking about someone like Philip Rivers or Teddy Bridgewater, they could be long gone by the time Brady shoots white smoke up his chimney.
Dolphins: Like the Raiders, the Dolphins can afford to wait. They have Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, along with the fifth pick in the draft. Miami could proceed primarily out of curiosity (especially if Brady asks them to), and if it doesn’t work out it won’t matter.
49ers: San Francisco structures its veteran contracts to give the team until April 1 to make a decision about a player, before his next round of guarantees fully vest. So if they want to explore the possibility of upgrading to Tom Brady from former Brady understudy Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers can do it. That doesn’t mean they will, but they definitely can.
Patriots: If/when Brady officially becomes a free agent, the chances of Brady staying with the Patriots will plummet. But if the Patriots intend to move forward with Jarrett Stidham, the Patriots in theory can wait for Brady to realize that the grass isn’t greener.