We may have a glimpse as to what Tom Brady’s decision will look like for the 2023 season.
There are questions as to whether or not the 45-year-old quarterback will return for a 24th season in 2023. Brady remains uncommitted, instead leaving the door open on a possible return or retirement. However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network during an appearance on San Francisco-area radio station KNBR’s Murph & Mac show, it’s “likely” that Brady comes back to play next season.
“My sense, in talking to people close to him, is it’s more likely that he comes back than not,” Rapoport said on Monday, January 30. “I believe that if he was going to go somewhere, the 49ers would be a place he would consider.”
Talk of Tom Brady Possibly Signing With the 49ers is Heating up
Rumors of Brady joining the San Francisco 49ers has heated up in recent hours. The Niners were throttled by the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-7, in the NFC Championship Game. It was the third time in the past four seasons that San Francisco made a deep postseason run, only to come up short in their quest to win a Super Bowl.
Making matters even more interesting is the fact that Brock Purdy — who started San Francisco’s last eight games — suffered a serious UCL tear in his throwing elbow and will need surgery. That means that Purdy will be sidelined for the next six months, meaning he won’t be able to return until the beginning of training camp in late July, as noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
With Jimmy Garoppolo a free agent and Trey Lance’s future in San Francisco a major question mark, that leaves the door open for Brady to possibly sign with his hometown team as a free agent.
Rapoport makes sure to stress that if the Niners do consider Brady, he might not be their number one option considering how expensive he’ll be to sign.
“If Tom Brady tells the 49ers, ‘I would only want to be with you guys,’ they would probably have to consider it,” Rapoport says. “I don’t know that that would be their number one option. They have someone who they really like as a potential starter who is extremely cheap. Tom Brady typically has played for $30 million the last couple of years. My guess is that is about what it would [cost the 49ers]. He’s not going to come back for a $1 million minimum salary. He’s just not. He’s never been willing to do that, and he’s just not.”
Buccaneers Want Brady Back for 2023: Report
For perspective, Brady played under a $25 million cap hit over the past three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering the Niners are currently paying Purdy under $1 million per year — he’s earning $3.7 million across four seasons — and Lance is earning just $9.3 million for the 2023 season, the Niners may not want to pay Brady $30 million a year.
It’s worth noting that the Buccaneers want Brady back for the 2023 season, according to Rapoport.
“Tom Brady is a free agent after this season. He will be 46 years old and I would say there’s a chance he does not return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite the fact that they very much want him back and plant to make efforts toward that,” Rapoport said.
Brady was recently asked by Jim Gray on the Let’s Go! podcast on whether or not he has made a decision on a timetable for a return.
“Jim, if I knew what I was gonna f—ing do, I’d already [have] f—ing done it,” answered Brady. “I’m taking it a day at a time.”
We don’t know what Brady’s decision will officially be. But it looks like there are signs that Brady will return for a 2023 season. And if he does, he won’t have any shortage of options.