“Let’s say the Niner [quarterback] thing just implodes totally, and they call him in August and say, ‘can you play October 1’? I think you take the phone call,” Cowherd told “The Volume” host John Middlekauff. “The Niners one, even though it is cross country [for Brady], the roster is so good. There’s part of me that thinks how would he not take the call? Because it’s not a quarterback demanding job. It’s a quarterback-friendly job.”
San Francisco endured injuries to three starting-caliber quarterbacks in 2022: Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brock Purdy. Lance and Purdy likely will remain with the 49ers, but head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t anticipate Garoppolo returning after the veteran becomes a free agent in March. Purdy’s elbow injury could take more than six months to heal. Lance had limited experience and inconsistent play before his season-ending ankle injury.
The 49ers have a loaded roster with arguably the league’s best defense, ranked first in points, 16.3, and yards, 300.6, allowed per game. Offensively, the Niners have a solid offensive line plus talented skill players galore with running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and tight end George Kittle.
Will the 49ers have any luck luring Brady out of retirement to the West Coast is the big question. Brady notably said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast on Monday that he doesn’t know what his first August without football in three decades will feel like, but he also said “I don’t ever envision it” regarding a comeback. Cowherd acknowledged the finality to both Brady’s Instagram video and the FS1 appearance but saw a crack in the door.
“But let’s say I retire and I meant it. What if a year later, like the greatest job ever is offered, I’d probably pick the phone up,” Cowherd told Middlekauff. “I mean it’s like Tom looks great, still has a great arm, [and] just was in an offense that completely and utterly depended on him and got them to win the division.”
“He’s not just a football player. He’s an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs always pick the phone up,” Cowherd added.
Family Factor for Brady Out West
Middlekauf floated Brady’s parents living in northern California as a motivator for the retired quarterback to join the 49ers. Brady’s parents, who are in their mid 70s, brought him to 49ers games growing up, which impacted his passion for the sport.
“There is a unique part as your parents age, if you do have the opportunity to do something special with them,” Middlekauf said.
Brady’s father, Tom Sr., told Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop that a final stint with the 49ers would have been special. However, the elder Brady expressed confidence about his famed son retiring permanently this time.
Brady ‘is Going to Get Calls’
Cowherd and Middelkauf agreed that NFL teams will come calling for Brady — regardless of how retired the former quarterback claims to be.
Middelkauf said he would “be shocked” if Shanahan and Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels didn’t make an effort to lure Brady out of retirement. McDaniels notably worked with Brady in New England before Brady’s stint with the Bucs.
“Those two teams, to me, are going to have a conversation with this man,” Middelfkauf said. “Now, whether Tom comes back, those conversations are going to be had.”
“Yeah, just because you retire doesn’t mean people can’t reach out,” Cowherd responded. “Listen, Troy Aikman got phone calls. Drew Brees has gotten phone calls. That’s the way the game is.”
“Tom is going to get calls,” Cowherd said. “I think he is going to say no to all of them, but the Niners, because of the roster, you at least take the call.”