Tom Brady is more than just a dot connected to the Dallas Cowboys — he’s allegedly a legitimate contingency plan.
Take it from legendary wide receiver Michael Irvin, who passed along what he heard from “some very significant people,” linking Brady to Dallas as Dak Prescott’s potential replacement.
“I am telling you right now, at the Super Bowl in Miami, some very significant people that I had conversations (with were) leaning in that same direction,” Irvin said during a recent WEEI radio interview, per SI.com. “It was shocking. I had a vodka cranberry in my hand and when they said it to me I put the drink down and said, ‘Let’s talk a little bit more about this.’ I promise you, I had a conversation with people, I can’t tell you who, about that same scenario going down.
“I just don’t know if there’s a real possibility of that happening.”
Vegas seems to believe it’s a real possibility. Despite the team’s admitted disinterest in the future first-ballot Hall-of-Fame quarterback, oddsmakers grouped the Cowboys among six favorites for Brady’s services.
Dallas was given 9/1 odds to sign the longtime Patriots field general if he leaves New England. Brady, like Prescott, is scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency on March 18 for the first time in his illustrious career. The Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts were also designated at 9/1.
Heading the frontrunners are the Las Vegas Raiders (3/1), followed by the Los Angeles Chargers (4/1), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7/1).
A report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter last Sunday stated the Raiders will pursue Brady if he doesn’t re-sign with New England. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on the same day that the Chargers “have emerged as a legitimate option for Brady.”
Spawned by fellow HOFer Terrell Owens, the off-the-wall idea of Brady playing for Dallas, meanwhile, took on a life of its own, as local media have surveyed the brain trust about its plausibility.
Which granted vice president Stephen Jones the opportunity to drive a stake through its speculative heart, dashing all hope of acquiring the All-World signal-caller.
“Not even a thought,” Jones said last month, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “We’re so, so all in on Dak. [Mike McCarthy] is so all in on Dak. He’s so convicted that [Dak’s] the guy that can help us win championships. He’s putting together a great staff to support him.”
Crazy as it sounds, Owens’ logic was rooted in Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ inability to reach a long-term deal with Prescott, who set career highs in passing yards and touchdowns this past season. T.O. felt the lack of progress — now at an “impasse” — is indicative of an issue that stretches far beyond money.
“He hasn’t extended Dak’s contract,” Owens said of Jones, via Bleacher Report. “So, that leads me to believe he truly doesn’t believe in Dak. If he had, then I think he would have already got a contract extension.”
Of course, Brady donning another team’s uniform is contingent on the Pats not meeting the 42-year-old’s price. And, based on the latest hearsay, they are prepared to do so — potentially with a $30 million 2020 salary and assurances his supporting cast will be upgraded.
Supposedly, according to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi, money is of lesser importance than his “weapons,” or current lack thereof. The club no doubt will promise to be aggressive in stockpiling talent this offseason, leading many to believe Brady’s staying put.
But, at this juncture, with weeks to go until the signing period opens, it’s hardly a slam-dunk.
And with each passing day, the Brady-to-Big-D rumors intensify.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dak Rejected $33M Deal in Order to Eclipse Rival QB: Report
The prevailing narrative regarding Prescott has been that he’s pining for a contract with an average annual value of $40 million, shattering the NFL’s current quarterback market.
A lesser-known, similarly-unconfirmed desire for Prescott, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is to usurp Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson, who’s taking home $35 million per season as part of his four-year, $140 million deal, inked in April 2019.
So, last September, when the Dallas Cowboys presented Dak with an offer that fell short of both his $40 million pipedream and Wilson’s yearly pay, Hill reported Friday, the two-time Pro Bowl passer told the team thanks but no thanks.
“The two sides came close to deal in September on a contract that would have paid him roughly $33 million annually, sources said, before talks broke down when Prescott upped his asking price,” Hill wrote.
Using what little leverage he has, Prescott — fresh off a career season in which he set new personal bests with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns — wouldn’t commit to showing his face at Cowboys headquarters, nor even training in North Texas, absent a new contract.
Jones once again used the U-word — “urgent” — to signify the importance of signing Prescott and, by association, avoiding a potential holdout. It’s a fine line the club must walk, hopeful to break the bank on its field general while also attempting to keep his number one wide receiver, Amari Cooper, and, perhaps, the Cowboys’ best cornerback, Byron Jones, both of whom, like Prescott, are unrestricted free agents.
“We want to get this done,” Jones said, per the Star-Telegram. “Things are fixing to heat up. We want to put every foot forward and try to grind this out and get a deal done.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL