A mad scramble to sign Tom Brady will intensify in the coming weeks, and if the 45-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback doesn’t retire, he will become a free agent in March.
After the Bucs crashed out of the NFL playoffs at the wild card stage, soundly beaten 31-14 by the Dallas Cowboys, Brady was in a solemn mood, and his actions seemed to hint this was his last game in Tampa Bay and possibly his last, period.
Since then, it’s been rumored that he might play another season and not go through the motions of retiring only to reverse that decision weeks later, as he did in the previous postseason.
A role with Fox reportedly waits for him if he wants to move into TV and punditry. But his numbers show that he can still rise to the occasion, although he finished just outside the top 10 rankings for regular starting QBs at the end of the regular season.
The Las Vegas Raiders could be the team that makes the biggest play for Brady if he decides to postpone retirement for another season, according to NFL reporter Josina Anderson.
Anderson tweeted: “I’m told the #Raiders are still working through their options at quarterback. They have not made a decision on the exact path, at this time. The expectation is they’ll explore the Tom Brady option in due time as ‘one’ of those paths, per league source.”
The Raiders have disappointed in a 6-11 losing season, and starting quarterback Derek Carr was benched for the final two games of the season, avoiding injury in case a trade is possible.
A move to the Raiders, if it happens, would reunite Brady with his former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.
There has been plenty of reaction to the rumors on social media. One person joked on Twitter: “If Brady does go to the Raiders, it’ll certainly be the first time in history that a recently divorced mid-40s dad heads to Las Vegas for one more gamble at redemption.”
Another user said this would definitely happen, tweeting: “I feel like it’s inevitable, and I’m mentally preparing myself…but Tom Brady will end up playing for the #Raiders next year.”
Another said the signing would be three years too late, tweeting: “Signing Brady now after not signing him in 2020 — he went on to win the Super Bowl that season — would be the most “Raiders” move in two decades-worth of illogical, badly timed gaffes by the franchise… They are definitely considering it.”
Brady’s Options for 2023/24 Season
If Brady doesn’t retire, there are a number of places he could go once he becomes a free agent in March.
A return to the Bucs is still rated the favorite, with a 33 percent chance he’ll play another year in Florida, according to OddsChecker.
The Raiders are up there among the teams with the best chance of signing Brady if he chooses to play elsewhere. The San Francisco 49ers are close behind.
Brock Purdy, the 49ers quarterback, has shown that “Mr. Irrelevant,” the name given to the player who is picked last in the NFL Draft, can become one of the most talked about players in the league. His team has remained undefeated since he made his debut as a starting quarterback in a win over Brady and the Bucs.
Even if the 49ers win the Super Bowl, it might be argued that Brady, the GOAT (“greatest of all time”), could help Purdy, who was the third-string QB until the final weeks of the regular season.
The New England Patriots are also in the mix, as Brady won six of his Super Bowl rings with them over a stellar career and with Robert Kraft as owner. He is a close friend of Brady’s, and there is always a chance that he could go back there.
There are doubts about the health of the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa after he suffered two confirmed concussions, as well as a possible third unconfirmed one. But it might be too big a step to replace a QB who can be very effective when healthy with one who will be 46 for the 2023/24 season.
New York Jets fans have been crying out for a QB after the team lost its final six regular season games and any playoff hopes. Zach Wilson has borne much of the angst from the fans, as well as being ranked the worst among starting quarterbacks during the regular season.
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