As Brady enters free agency for the first time in his 20-year career, he’ll have a number of options at his disposal. He could choose to return to the Patriots for a 21st season, or he could elect to sign with one of a couple of teams from the West Coast.
But which team is really Brady’s likely destination? Furthermore, which team is considered his fallback option?
Patriots Are Likely Team for Brady
As Mike Sando of The Athletic writes in his article, this anonymous NFL executive believes the Patriots are the likely spot for Brady with the Raiders as the fallback option.
They don’t need the bang the way the Chargers do, but I think they (Raiders) would like it and I do think where there is smoke, there is fire, and some of that stuff that comes out about Carr and Gruden is probably true,” an exec said. “The Raiders become a fallback position for Brady in my view. If it turns out Brady really wants to get away from Bill Belichick and he is out of there no matter what, then I think the Raiders become the next best possibility.
Raiders Willing to Pay Brady $60 Million?
The Raiders would obviously have to make some moves in order to make this dream signing of Brady happen. They’re still tied to Derek Carr for three more seasons at a little over $60 million.
With that being said, it appears the Raiders are more than willing to make that happen. That would be because according to Larry Fitzgerald Sr., the Raiders are willing to offer Brady a two-year, $60 million deal this offseason.
As Mike Florio of NBC Sports notes, there is legitimacy to this report as Fitzgerald Sr. has been a member of the media for decades. It also doesn’t hurt that he has connections due to his son, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Although this one (like the Bernie Smilovitz report of Matthew Stafford trade talks) doesn’t come from someone with an extensive track record of breaking NFL news, my knee-jerk reaction is to believe it, for several reasons. First, I know Fitzgerald Sr. and I’m prepared to say that, if he’s saying it, he’s definitely hearing it from someone who would know. Second, he’s in position to have heard it from someone who knows what’s going on, given the people he knows in the broader NFL structure, thanks both to his own connections and his son’s. Third, although the window for talking to agents about pending free agents doesn’t open until March 16, there are too many teams and too many quarterbacks for the process of preparing and making offers not to have already begun.
With all of this said, the key word here is “fallback.” Based upon one this NFL executive is saying, the prevailing belief is that Brady’s preference is to return to the Patriots.
It had also been previously reported that the Patriots are willing to offer Brady upwards of $30 million per season. So it’s not like this proposed price tag for Brady is breaking any new ground.
While a lot can change between now and March 18 when free agency begins, that has to be a very good feeling for Patriots fans moving forward.