Tom Brady retired just a couple of weeks ago. But that’s not stopping people from speculating his retirement is only temporary.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback announced his decision to retire on Tuesday, February 1. In the ensuing days since, insiders have speculated that Brady’s decision isn’t permanent. It also hasn’t helped that Brady himself admitted he could return.
While some believe the 44-year-old will eventually make his return with the Buccaneers, others have a different idea of what’s in Brady’s future.
Count NBC Sports’ Mike Florio in the latter category. According to Florio, he believes Brady is plotting a return. But it’s with the idea of suiting up for Tampa Bay’s NFC rival, the San Francisco 49ers. Brady grew up a 49ers fan and attended high school in San Mateo, California — just 16 miles away from San Francisco.
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Florio: Brady Will Suit Up for 49ers in Week 1
During Thursday’s edition of Pro Football Talk Live, the NFL insider reads an email that explains how Brady is progressing through the latter stages of his football career, basically like a “mid-life crisis.”
“…[I] got a great email. I don’t know that the person wants his name to be shared, but it’s explaining what’s going on with Tom Brady,” says Florio. “[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.”
Florio then goes on to predict how Brady is going to “work it” behind the scenes in regards to an eventual trade with the 49ers.
“I’m telling you, it’s unavoidable,” Florio continues. “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.”
Brady-to-49ers Trade Could Work
Florio basically points to how Aaron Rodgers previously handled his situation with the Green Bay Packers. During the 2021 offseason, Rodgers allowed reports and rumors to swirl that he wanted out of Green Bay. While Rodgers eventually returned to play the season for the Packers, his reputation took a hit as he refused to commit to Green Bay past the 2021 campaign.
This scenario isn’t exactly a far-fetched one. Former New England Patriots quarterback and current radio host Scott Zolak proposed the same outcome with Brady being traded to the 49ers in exchange for Jimmy Garoppolo.
While Florio doesn’t go into details on how Brady would be acquired by the 49ers, it would likely be via trade. Brady is still under contract with Tampa Bay for one more season, meaning they hold his rights through the 2022 season.
This scenario obviously works out for the 49ers, as they are reportedly ready to move on from Garoppolo. Furthermore, it would give 2021 first-round draft pick Trey Lance another year to develop as a backup; this time behind the greatest quarterback ever.
While Brady and the 49ers may envision such a marriage for 2022, how would the move benefit the Buccaneers? Would they want to exchange Brady for a game-managing quarterback in Garoppolo?
If Tampa Bay is able to facilitate an acquisition for one of the more worthwhile quarterbacks in the league — Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Derek Carr spring to mind — it would make it a lot easier for the Bucs to trade Brady if he decides to return.
A lot has yet to be decided, but as more and more reporters propose scenarios for Brady’s return so soon following his retirement, it’s starting to feel more and more like the seven-time Super Bowl champion isn’t done just yet.