The San Francisco 49ers have had legendary quarterbacks over the years, and Tom Brady could join the ranks of passers who have worn the red and gold.
While the up-front story for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB is that he’s retired after 22 seasons in the league, other rumors and reports have suggested that the seven-time Super Bowl champion isn’t quite finished.
One of those believing that Brady still has more in the tank is Pro Football Talk founder Mike Florio. On February 17’s episode of Pro Football Talk Live, Florio shared that new info implies Brady still wants to play for the Niners.
“[I] got a great email,” Florio said. “I don’t know that the person wants his name to be shared, but it’s explaining what’s going on with Tom Brady. [It’s a] classic mid-life crisis; Step 1, a divorce from the Patriots; Step 2, a short-term relationship with a trophy girl [like the] Buccaneers; Step 3, a late-night text to the high school sweetheart, a.k.a the 49ers.”
The analogy comes off as a bit much, but the fact is that there’s precedent for what Brady wants. If that’s joining San Francisco, general manager John Lynch and the 49ers owe it to themselves to look into what that might look like.
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Brady Could Return to California
Famously, Brady hails from San Mateo, California and attended Junipero Serra High School before leaving for the University of Michigan. In his 26 seasons of college and NFL football since, he hasn’t played a home game in California.
Of course, there’s another California-born quarterback who’s future is murky: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Like Brady, there’s been rumblings that Rodgers has looked into a move to play in San Francisco, although nothing concrete.
Florio believes that Brady’s approach is far different than what the NFL has seen from Rodgers, who has voiced his displeasure with the Packers at points in recent years.
“I’m telling you, it’s unavoidable,” Florio said. “He’s not gonna lower himself to have to dirty himself the way Aaron Rodgers is. He’s gonna work it all behind the scenes. I just… I think he’s gonna be with the 49ers Week 1 [of the 2022 season]. I’m rooting for that so badly.”
How a Trade Could Work
San Francisco has a fortunate asset in QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Whether or not Brady comes back to play in 2022, Jimmy G will likely be traded to one of the several teams that need an upgrade at quarterback, which include Tampa Bay.
But if Brady makes his intentions known and wants out of the Buccaneers franchise, Tampa Bay will have the better asset between the two sides. Garoppolo and Brady have similar paydays for the 2022 season per Spotrac, which would likely mean San Francisco would need to add a little extra for Brady.
Considering he’s arguably the greatest quarterback ever, it’s hard imagining the 49ers turning down the chance to have Brady for a year (at least) while also giving second-year QB Trey Lance another season to develop.
It all hinges on what Brady really wants. If he wants to play in San Francisco, it’s hard to think he won’t get the chance.