Tom Brady Could Return to Familiar Area, NFL Insider Says

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady could join the Detroit Lions, Pro Football Talk suggests.

As speculation runs rampant regarding Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady‘s future, an unlikely destination, though familiar to Brady, has emerged.

Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms floated the idea of the Detroit Lions, and fellow Pro Football Talk host Mike Florio didn’t downplay that as a possibility. Brady played college football down the road from Detroit in Ann Arbor for the Michigan Wolverines, a place Brady still speaks fondly of in interviews. Brady, 45, will become a free agent in March unless he retires or he re-signs with the Bucs.

“Wouldn’t that be something? Tom Brady, back in Michigan,” Florio wrote. “Tom Brady, with a Lions team that finished 2022 strong. A Lions team with an impressive nucleus of talented players. A Lions team that quarterback Jared Goff may be able to lead on a deep run in the postseason, but may not be able to take over the top.”

Detroit finished with a better record than the Bucs at 9-8 but missed the playoffs as the Seattle Seahawks clinched the final Wild Card spot. The Lions averaged 26.6 points per game on offense with 1,000-yard wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and 1,000-yard running back Jamaal Williams. In addition, the Lions offensive line ranked No. 8 in the final Pro Football Focus rankings.

Defensively, the Lions gave up 25.1 points per game, but the team has promising young talent in defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who garnered 9.5 sacks as a rookie. Defensive back Kerby Joseph also impressed as a rookie with four interceptions. Overall, the Lions defense created 30 takeaways.

The Lions could improve the roster with $16 million under the salary cap per Spotrac. Florio also suggested that the Lions could trade Goff if the team lands Brady, which could free up more salary cap space. Goff has a cap hit of $30.9 million, per Spotrac, in 2023.

“He has played well enough to be traded to a team that needs a starter, and there could be one or two teams looking for one after the looming game of signal-caller musical chairs ends,” Florio wrote about Goff.

How Detroit Could Benefit Brady Besides the Lions Roster

Off the field, Brady could fly in less than two hours to New York for his oldest son, Jack, and three hours to Miami for his younger children, Vivian and Benjamin. Brady currently has a three-hour flight to New York from Tampa, but his flight to Miami is just an hour.

Detroit gives Brady a chance to stay out of the elements for home games indoors at Ford Field. The Lions also play in a winnable division that had two teams with losing records and an inconsistent 13-4 Minnesota Vikings squad that ranked 28th for defense.

A Unique Challenge Awaits Brady

Despite all of the benefits, the Lions have little recent history of success beyond the 9-8 season in 2022. The Lions last won a playoff game in 1991, and the last division title came in 1993. The franchise hasn’t won a title in the Super Bowl era amid the famed “Curse of Bobby Layne“, which began after the Lions’ last title in 1957 when the team traded Layne against his wishes.

Brady helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl despite the franchise’s history and lowest winning percentage of all American professional sports teams at the time. Could Brady pull off something similar for a Lions franchise that hasn’t won in more than a half century in potentially his final career act?

“At this point, it’s nothing more than a dart thrown loosely in the direction of the board,” Florio noted. “But if the Lions get a phone call from someone on Brady’s behalf in the coming weeks [or if they already have], it won’t be easy to say no.”

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