Instead of playing his first game as a non-Patriot in the place where he won his first Super Bowl, Tom Brady could have been playing his first game in the state where he went to college.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Bears made an offer to Brady during his first foray into free agency. If Brady had landed in Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky surely wouldn’t have won the starting job for today’s opener at the Lions.
Rapoport adds that the Saints had interest in Brady, until Drew Brees decided to return for at least one more year. That would have been an intriguing destination; the greatest quarterback of all times would have joined forces with one of the all-time greatest offensive masterminds.
That’s not the end of the list of interested teams, however. As Rapoport notes, Brady ultimately chose the Buccaneers over the Chargers. It’s also well known that Brady had reached out to the 49ers, who considered him before deciding to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Also, Brady had interest in the Colts. The Colts gently rebuffed him because, at the time, they wanted only a one-year stopgap. (They still may be keeping Philip Rivers for only one year, even though he has expressed interest in more than that.) It’s also possible that the Colts wanted to avoid a situation in which they believed they’d be signing a key member of the Patriots organization, only to have the Patriots intervene at the eleventh hour to keep him from going to Indianapolis, Josh McDaniels style.
However it played out, Brady will be playing for the Buccaneers today, and it will be strange to see him in anything but New England’s red, white, and blue.