Is Patriots Loss to Titans Tom Brady’s Last Game With Franchise?

Tom Brady

Getty Images Patriots QB Tom Brady is set to become a free agent following the season.

The New England Patriots and their star QB Tom Brady are headed towards a pivotal offseason. With Saturday’s AFC Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans, New England fans could very well have witnessed the 42-year-old’s final game in a Patriots uniform.

During his postgame press conference, Brady called the idea of retiring this offseason “pretty unlikely,” but otherwise remained mum on what his next steps might entail.

Although the six-time Super Bowl champion has frequently stated his goal to play until he’s 45 years old, Brady is now set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. As NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported just after Brady signed a two-year, $70 million extension back in August, the deal was actually the equivalent of a one-year raise.

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The two remaining 2020 and 2021 seasons on Brady’s deal will officially void on March 17, leaving New England with $13.5 million in dead money towards their salary cap in 2020, according to Spotrac.

Brady Remains Noncommittal on Future

During a radio interview with WEEI in October 2019, Brady left the door open in regards to his 2020 plans.

“That is the great part for me, I don’t know,” Brady said. “I think that has been a unique situation that I have been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years you kind feel like (there is) the responsibility to always fulfill the contract. For me, it’s been good because I am just taking it day-by-day and I am enjoying what I have. I don’t know what the future holds and the great part is for me, football at this point is all borrowed time…One day I will wake up and I will feel like, ‘OK, that will be enough.’ When that day comes, that day comes. I don’t know if it will be after this year. I don’t know if it will be five years from now…”

The possibility of Brady signing a new deal with the Patriots for 2020, and potentially beyond, is still very much in play. Last month, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller even noted that none of his sources in New England “have mentioned a need at quarterback — which could tell us a lot about Tom Brady’s future or the team’s trust in rookie Jarrett Stidham.”

Potential Destinations for Brady in 2020

Should the three-time league MVP elect to explore his options in free agency for the first time in his 20-year career, a couple of AFC teams have been rumored as potential destinations.

The Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts both offer suitable situations for Brady to continue playing in 2020. Outside of Philip Rivers’ impending departure from the team, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson made mention of the L.A. market as a potential attraction for Brady, who is inching closer to his post-career plans.

There’s another global aspect of this to consider. One that runs parallel to the pitching of Los Angeles as an advantageous locale for the transition from the end of Brady’s career into his post-career life. Certain aspects of that track are obvious, particularly if the next phase of Brady’s business portfolio is steeped in the development of his TB12 enterprise. As it stands, the TB12 chain is already planning a wave of facilities and retail expansion in New York, Los Angeles and possibly Miami. And not only is Los Angeles fertile ground for a burgeoning chain of health and wellness outlets, but Brady’s well-known partner and much-publicized trainer, Alex Guerrero, has ties to Southern California. Brady has also trained in Los Angeles and is expected to have a massive spate of post-career media and entertainment opportunities that would benefit greatly from living in the area.

As for the Colts, current signal-caller Jacoby Brissett is also an impending free agent and Indy’s general manager Chris Ballad has told Sports Illustrated that “the jury is still out” on the former Patriots quarterback as the team’s long-term solution at the position.

While almost any quarterback-needy team is likely to inquire about Brady’s services, only time will tell which direction Brady takes his career now that the Patriots have been eliminated from the postseason.

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