Tom Brady free agency: Would signing the six-time Super Bowl-winning QB make any sense for 49ers?


Tom Brady was in the stands when Joe Montana and Dwight Clark connected on “The Catch” that propelled the 49ers’ dynasty. Now, 38 years since that iconic play, there are rumblings that Brady may finish his career for the team he grew up cheering for as a Bay Area native.

Brady, who will be 43 years old before the start of the 2020 regular season, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when the league’s new year begins on March 18. On Friday’s Pick Six Podcast (it’s daily, it’s packed full of NFL goodness, and you can subscribe here), Will Brinson hosted a debate about whether or not the 49ers, who were a half a quarter away from winning Super Bowl LIV, should consider signing Brady while putting an abrupt end to the Jimmy Garoppolo era.

Sean Wagner-McGough doesn’t think it would make sense for the 49ers to dump Garoppolo in favor of Brady, who is coming off one of the least efficient seasons of his illustrious career. He said that, along with the fact that Garoppolo is 14 years younger than Brady, Jimmy G’s 2019 numbers were far superior than the six-time Super Bowl champion.

“There’s reasons to think (Garoppolo) could still improve,” Wagner-McGough said. “You know what Brady is at this point, and he’s on the tail end of his career.

“The only reason I think the 49ers would look to move on from Garoppolo this offseason is if they can get a cheaper option, which would allow them to keep more of their nucleus. They have some people who are hitting free agency or are needing extensions. Brady’s not gonna cost less in the short term. He might cost more than Garoppolo in the short term. And you’re getting a downgrade and an older quarterback. I don’t understand this whatsoever.”

Brinson offered a counterargument.

“I would disagree on downgrading, performance-wise,” Brinson said. “I think that if you took the next five years, you’re gonna get more value out of Jimmy Garoppolo, but I think Brady gives you a shorter, higher peak.”

“I can buy that,” Wagner-McGough said. “I still don’t think it makes long-term sense for them to do this.”

Prodiving another layer of perspective to the discussion was John Breech, a long-suffering Bengals fan who knows full well the importance of surrounding a quarterback with talented weapons at the skill positions.

“I don’t think comparing Brady’s numbers to Garoppolo’s numbers from 2019 really makes any sense,” Breech said, “because if you had Brady in San Francisco last season, his numbers are a lot better than what he did in New England, where he literally had no one to throw to.”

There were a few instances during the NFL’s first 100 seasons where an older quarterback found the fountain of youth after finding a new team. Joe Montana led the Chiefs to the AFC title game during his first year in Kansas City. Brett Favre made similar magic during his first season in Minnesota. Peyton Manning, albeit a diminished version of himself, helped lead the Broncos to the promised land during the final year of his soon to be Hall of Fame career.

As good as those quarterbacks were in the short term, none of them could keep the magic going for very long, which begs the question: Is 1-2 potential seasons of Brady worth pulling the plug on Garoppolo? That’s the question the 49ers are possibly pondering, and it’s a question that will ultimately be answered over the next several weeks.





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