Tom Brady’s farewell to Patriots opens the door for three teams to upgrade at QB and energize their fanbase


Tom Brady had been preparing us all for months that this day would come. Some of us just didn’t want to listen.

First, it was his contract adjustment in August that voided the final two years of his deal. Then it was putting his mansion on the market. The cat-and-mouse games with reporters followed, as he consistently danced around ever committing to the New England Patriots past the 2019 season.

On Tuesday morning, the greatest quarterback of all time laid it out clearly for us all. Brady wrote that his “football journey will take place elsewhere,” officially and plainly stating that his 20 years as the quarterback of the New England Patriots is now over.

Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, your move.

Brady serves not only as an upgrade at the quarterback position on each team, but he also brings with him untold millions into moribund franchises. I’ve spoken with multiple NFL executives in the past weeks about what a Brady signing would tangibly mean from a business perspective. Their answers: website and app traffic, more media coverage, more primetime games, ticket sales, greater global interest in the brand, jersey sales, and merchandising.

“It would do one thing that you can’t ever have enough of,” one NFL team executive told me. “It would energize a fan base, and there is no downside to that.”

Tom Brady is officially leaving the Patriots — you read that right. What does it all mean? Where does he go next? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends are here to break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Las Vegas Raiders

Just because Las Vegas signed Marcus Mariota to a one-year deal and tendered Nathan Peterman does not, by any means, signal it’s set at the quarterback position.

If given the choice of shedding Derek Carr to gain Tom Brady, the Raiders wouldn’t have a choice at all. Imagine, after losing out on the sparkling 2020 draft due to Coronavirus, this franchise kicking off its stay in Vegas with two years of Tom Brady in brand-new Allegiant Stadium.

Sure, GM Mike Mayock supported Carr at the Combine last month, but that’s what GMs are supposed to do.

“Derek Carr played at a high level. I’m very happy with Derek Carr,” Mayock said. “What I’ve told everybody I’ve been in touch with since the day I took this job is we’re going to evaluate every position, every year. And if we can get better, we will.”

This move would make the Raiders objectively better at quarterback, and that’s all Mayock will have to say when peppered with questions about why he signed Brady a month after being one of Carr’s biggest cheerleaders.

There are issues with Brady going to Vegas, though. Pairing him with Jon Gruden, who has notoriously long and rigid play calls, could be a disaster. Brady has had a great rapport with his chief offensive coordinator in 20 years in New England, and it may not continue that way in the desert.

Secondly, Raiders owner Mark Davis is not Robert Kraft. In truth, none of these owners are Robert Kraft. But the Raiders are known to have cash-flow issues, and in a league where you win on the edges, not having a financially flexible team owner could be a detriment. Nabbing Brady would represent the sort of cash injection Davis has been yearning for.

Of the three teams here, I believe the Raiders are the least likely to land Brady. But a move to the silver and black—taking the “heel turn” to its figurative limits—could be enticing to Brady.

Los Angeles Chargers

Talk about the need for interest in a ballclub. Despite being in the second-largest media market in America, the Chargers have been competing with the likes of the Bengals and Jaguars as one of the most irrelevant franchises on the national scene.

The team left its San Diego home with loyal fans to play in a soccer stadium for two years and allow the opponents’ fans to make every game an away game. Now they prepare to go into Stan Canyon not holding up their end of the financial bargain and having just cast off the face of the franchise with a couple of tweets.

The Chargers need Brady because they don’t have a proper replacement yet for Philip Rivers and because they need the relevancy currency. Might Brady be more cautious about playing under Dean Spanos than Mark Davis? Probably. But the Chargers sticking to the Rams offers a sort of too-big-to-fail protection that Brady will be able to live with for the next 48 months.

When the Chargers announced at the Super Bowl they had extended head coach Anthony Lynn, I said it was no coincidence as they continued their pursuit of Brady. They wanted to signal franchise stability by locking in the coach through at least the 2021 season, and that was emphasized further by them parting ways with Rivers early in the offseason rather than dragging it out.

And, of course, Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen already have a $20 million mansion in Brentwood. If he’s looking for the comforts of home, well, the California kid is already home.

Interestingly enough, though, Brady having a home in L.A. won’t help the Chargers in terms of a potential free-agent visit. The league sent out a memo Monday evening telling teams they could not bring any free-agent player, including their own, “to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel.” Also, team doctors can’t travel to any location to meet with a free agent.

So Brady and the Chargers couldn’t legally get away with meeting in Los Angeles even if he claimed L.A. as his home city, though the team could find a “neutral physical exam” location for an L.A.-based Brady much easier than another team.

And as a cherry on top, Brady has released launched a production company that’s based in Hollywood. With LeBron James’s move to L.A. still fresh on our minds, it makes sense that Brady is California Dreaming as he looks to bridge the twilight of his playing career with the beginning of his post-playing career.

One big drawback for both the Chargers and Raiders is facing the powerhouse Chiefs twice a year. Not that Brady would shy away from the challenge, but it would seem to be an unnecessary mountain to climb for the 43-year-old quarterback who wants to play his best ball in January with homefield advantage and perhaps the lone first-round bye. Having to go through the defending Super Bowl champs twice a year just to possibly play them a third time in the postseason in order to get to his 10th Super Bowl may not be the most prudent thing to do.

The Chargers would be at the top of my list of landing spots for Brady if one other team didn’t fit so well on the field for him…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs aren’t afraid of hiding their interest in Brady, and they’re going full-steam ahead in the coming days to land the GOAT.

Tampa Bay extended the franchise tag to Shaq Barrett after he led the NFL with 19 1/2 sacks and inked Jason Pierre-Paul to a two-year extension. Head coach Bruce Arians had said this offseason the top priority was keeping the defense together and the Bucs are showcasing that for Brady.

The Bucs let Jameis Winston hit free agency because they believe they have a shot at Brady, who could bring them to the postseason for the first time since the Bush Administration. Brady would pair with Arians, an offensive genius by any measure, and have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and free-agents-to-be-named-later-who-will-take-less-to-play-with-Brady-in-a-state-with-no-income-taxes to throw to.

With respect to the three-time division-winning Saints, the NFC South is a winnable one with a Brady-led Bucs team. A light at the end of the division tunnel would guarantee Brady at least one (or some) home playoff games that remains a flicker of hope competing against the Chiefs in the AFC West.

The heat could play a factor for Brady, who has not been his normal GOAT self when playing in Florida temperatures in his career. But if there’s any player who has the wherewithal to adjust his body to myriad factors, it’s TB12.

A Brady signing would increase Tampa Bay’s profile to heights it hasn’t seen since the turn of the century, and it would come in the same season Tampa is set to host Super Bowl LV. People I talk to in Tampa and around the NFC South believe there’s a real chance Brady is a Buc in 2020.

Fire the cannons.





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