While we’ve heard many possibilities of where Brady could play next season, what we haven’t heard enough of is who the Patriots would acquire to replace their longtime quarterback. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been one veteran name thrown out, but there has been little else outside of Dalton.
The free-agent quarterback class will be pretty deep this offseason and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has an interesting opinion. In fact, La Canfora states that the Patriots will end up replacing Brady with another veteran quarterback — but one who is still considered in his prime. His prediction points to the Patriots signing New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“Still a young pup in his mid-20s, but has gone through life-changing injuries and cleared major hurdles. Outstanding kid with a first-round pedigree and abundant upside. Protects the football. Would have a great defense behind him. You need someone with high potential to replace Brady, Bill Belichick wouldn’t want a full rebuild, and they pick too low to get a sure-thing QB in the draft.”
Bridgewater is 27 years old. Despite his young age, he’s already led a team to the playoffs — doing so with the 2015 Minnesota Vikings — and helped keep the Saints afloat while Drew Brees was sidelined for nearly half of the 2019 season.
In five starts this season, Bridgewater went 5-0 and threw nine touchdowns against just two interceptions for a 99.1 quarterback rating. In fact, over the course of his career, Bridgewater has posted a 22-12 record (.647 winning percentage).
Assuming the Patriots do look towards a veteran to replace Brady — rather than going with youngster Jarrett Stidham — Bridgewater would likely represent the best option. By attempting to add Bridgewater instead of signal-callers over the age of 30 such as Dalton, Philip Rivers or Ryan Tannehill, he not only represents the perfect short-term option, but could also be the long-term option.
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La Canfora Predicts Brady Signs With Chargers
As far as where La Canfora believes Brady will go, it’s the same team that a lot of people are predicting — none other than the Los Angeles Chargers.
The NFL analyst pitches the allure of playing in Los Angeles for the California-born Brady.
“I’ve long heard this spot would hold unique appeal with Brady and have done significant reporting on it since. His trainers and infrastructure are already in SoCal, his family would be a very short private plane ride away, he enjoyed living in Malibu before, holds off-season workouts at USC. He’d be in Hollywood, where a second career as a producer or media mogul of some sort likely awaits and his buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck make power moves.
He’d be in the perfect spot to market his TB12 brand. It would be huge for the fight to make football really matter in LA. The NFL office would be doing private cartwheels. Stan Kroenke, who is building that $4B stadium in Inglewood, would be overjoyed. If Brady does actually leave New England, this would be top of his list from everything I gather (and that list would not be very long). Could the Chargers close a move of this magnitude? Perhaps we’ll find out, as either way it’s looked for a while that Philip Rivers is on the way out. Heck, they could draft a Justin Herbert and have him sit behind Brady for two years.”
The Bottom Line on Tom Brady’s Future
Brady will be a free agent for the first time in his career and the threat of him leaving New England appears real. However, owner Robert Kraft has made it clear that he wants Brady back during his end-of-season comments regarding the veteran’s future.
The six-time Super Bowl champion also wants to return to New England, but the money issue is a real one. Brady no longer wants to accept bargain contracts and wants to be paid like the Hall-of-Fame quarterback that he is. That could mean anywhere from $25-to-$35 million annually; no more being paid in the same range as quarterbacks such as Joe Flacco.
If the Patriots can cough up enough dough to make Brady feel respected, he’ll be back in New England. If they come across as frugal during negotIations, Brady could potentially leave the Patriots.
This means they would have to sign a replacement and a veteran quarterback like Bridgewater would be the perfect option.