While it appeared that the New England Patriots had moved on from Tom Brady, a return could be in store, according to one writer.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe didn’t rule out a reunion between Brady, 45, and the Patriots after this season, which has been difficult both personally and professionally for the quarterback.
“Don’t ever write off the Patriots,” Howe wrote in a November 30 story. “Brady and Bill Belichick still have an abundance of respect for one another. They’ve made points to say it publicly on multiple occasions since the QB departed for Tampa. They also spent 23 minutes together in the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium following Brady’s return in 2021 — an appointment they set up prior to the game. The Patriots are slated to have more than $100 million in cap space in 2023, so they can again address their flaws, this time on the heels of a couple impressive draft classes.
”Maybe it’s a long shot,” Howe added. There might be better situations for Brady. But just when you think you’ve got Belichick figured out, he does something no one sees coming.”
Brady’s former teammate Matt Light reacted to the story during a November 30 appearance on WEEI, saying it wouldn’t be a shock if Brady did come back to New England, where he last played in 2019.
“I wouldn’t put anything past him,” Light said of Brady. “The guy wants to win, and he knows how to do it with a guy like Belichick. I think he’s seeing the differences now. I mean, he only played for Bill, and then he goes down to Tampa and he’s had a couple head coaches down there now. He could conceivably come back and want to be with a proven winner.”
Would the Patriots Need to Make a Trade?
If Brady did desire a return to New England, it would be less difficult because he will become a free agent after this season.
“Realistically, the Patriots wouldn’t even need to trade Mac Jones, whose rookie contract runs through 2024 plus the fifth-year option in 2025,” Howe wrote. “While they certainly could — and as is the case with many starting quarterbacks, they’d start the trade conversations with the hopes of recouping a first-round pick — there’d be loads of value in Jones learning from Brady.”
How Has Brady Performed This Season?
In 11 games this season, he has led the Buccaneers to a 5-6 record while throwing for 3,051 yards and 14 touchdowns against two interceptions. Though his personal stats aren’t too unsatisfying, the team record is sure to leave him wanting more.
Even though his team is struggling, Brady still seems to love the game and all the effort that comes with it.
“I love playing,” Brady said on the November 28 episode of his “Let’s Go” podcast. “I love competing. I love trying to be a little bit better every day. I love going out there with a sense of purpose to try to get better. And ultimately, I love trying to play at a championship level for my teammates.
“And obviously there’s challenges every year,” he said. “Everybody has unique challenges, you know, on and off the field. You work as hard as you can with the circumstances that are presented before you. We’re just going to keep fighting until the end and we’ll be measured by, again, by what happens over the course of a long season.”