The New England Patriots and Tom Brady might be stuck with one another.
As time ticks down toward free agency, Brady’s potential suitors are seemingly bowing out, and the chances of the Patriots finding an adequate replacement and upgrade are less likely.
The Titans and 49ers Are Out
The Tennessee Titans, and San Francisco 49ers were once believed to be major candidates to steal Brady away from New England, but both have removed themselves from consideration.
The Titans signed incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $118 million deal, and the Niners were backing out of the race, per NBC Sports’ Chris Simms.
The Bucs Are the Last Team Left to Pry Brady Away
That would seemingly leave only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patriots as potential suitors for the future Hall-of-Famer.
While the Bucs have an attractive climate, charismatic veteran head coach in Bruce Arians, and a top-notch weapon in the passing game in Mike Evans, will the lure of a team that went 7-9 last year be enough to pry Brady from his comfort zone in New England?
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The Patriots’ In-House and High-Profile Options
On the flip side, the Patriots don’t have a plethora of attractive options to turn to at QB. Aside from a rookie QB, the team might select with the No. 23 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, there isn’t a lot of upside for any potential replacement.
Teddy Bridgewater would be an intriguing option, but the Patriots will have to pay a high price for the 27-year-old who has played just 44 games in his five-year NFL career.
Aside from Bridgewater, there is a chance to trade for the Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton, who has struggled to win despite having a few different talented units around him for nine years in Cincy.
The 32-year-old likely needs a fresh start, but is there enough there for the Patriots to feel as though he’s ready to take the reins for the next chapter of Patriots’ football?
That seems like a potentially tough sell to the fanbase.
Is it Possible Brady and the Pats are Headed Toward an Awkward Reconciliation?
Perhaps we’ve run around for the past month discussing the possibility of Brady leaving in free agency only to find out that the two sides are still each others’ best fit.
There may be a desire on Brady and head man Bill Belichick’s side to prove they can win without the other, but it may take a defiant stance by one or the other to actually make the separation happen.
The truth is, Brady’s best chance of finishing his playing career with a chance at more glory is in a Patriots’ uniform, and the team isn’t likely to find a better immediate replacement.
If they both do what’s in the best interests of winning, they will extend the 20-year-relationship.