Rumors of Tom Brady’s departure are at an all-time high. A report came out that Tom Brady’s suite in Gillette Stadium received a “deep cleaning” according to some radio hosts in Boston. It has also been said that he moved out of his home in Boston. The panic button has officially been sounded for Patriots fans. How worried should they be? Well according to Oddsshark, the Hall of Fame quarterback is still a -300 favorite to return to New England next year and a +200 to start week 1 with another team. Perhaps he would even consider retiring. That seems to be the most unlikely scenario. Brady himself stated that it is “pretty unlikely” that he would hang up his cleats. It seems like the only way that would be a reality is if there weren’t any teams willing to give him a contract and I can guarantee he will not have any issues getting upwards of $20 million dollars. The sports books appear to agree with this sentiment and have Brady at a -1500 to return and +700 that he has played his last game. If the coveted quarterback does decide to leave New England, here is the situation for the top teams favored to land him:
Los Angeles Chargers (+200): 11th in sacks allowed per game (2.1), 6th in yards allowed per game (313.13), 14th in Cap Space ($56,358,772)
The Chargers are the favorites to land Tom Brady as it stands right now. The California native seems to have all the pieces that he would want in Los Angeles. He gets a top tier receiving back in Austin Ekeler that could realistically have 1,000 yards receiving next year. His receiver core includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry. Simply put, this team makes the most sense for him. A defense led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram would alleviate a lot of pressure off the 42-year-old and allow him to be the game manager that the Chargers desperately needed Phillip Rivers to be. Rivers was about as bad of a clutch time performer in 2019 as you could possibly be. When the Chargers were within 7 in the 4th quarter, Rivers went 47/90 for 541 yards, threw 3 touchdowns, and had 5 interceptions. He actually has the most losses by 7 points or fewer in NFL history. It would be safe to assume that the Chargers would have fared much better with Brady at the helm last season.
Dallas Cowboys (+700): 2nd in sacks allowed per game (1.4), 9th in yards allowed per game (327), 5th in Cap Space ($81,903,628)
There might be no better quarterback in the league who could use a year off than Dak Prescott. On paper he had the best season of his career. He was second in the league in passing yards with 4,902. He had 30 passing touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The reality is that his play resulted in a mediocre 8-8 season. Keep in mind that the NFC East was the definitive worst division in football. There was no easier year in recent memory to make the playoffs and the Cowboys fell short. A lot of that can be attributed to the team’s reliance on Prescott versus the running game like in years past. Dallas is 3 years removed from his rookie campaign in which they went 13-3. The quarterback desperate to earn his first big contract created more questions for the front office than answers. Tom Brady makes sense considering he would bring a much better leadership quality to the team and would be a more reliable option second to Elliot. The problem comes from Dak himself. The idea that he would be willing to sit out a season is a stretch and I’m not sure how a team deals with having two highly paid quarterbacks. It sounds like more of a Hollywood dream than a reality.
Las Vegas Raiders (+700): 6th in the league in sacks allowed (1.8), 19th in yards allowed per game (354.81), 10th in Cap Space ($62,609,802)
Is there any coach in the league who could match Brady’s intensity when it comes to work ethic? I would say look no further than Jon Gruden. The maniac who can count down in multiples of 3 would probably spend most of his tenure with Brady competing with who could consume more game tape in the shortest amount of time. Tom Brady would enjoy high quality weapons at his favorite positions. Jalen Richard, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow would make him feel very comfortable. The Raiders just have a lot of work to do at numerous positions. For starters, the Raiders lack a real number one wide receiver and I doubt Brady wants to go through another season similar to that of the Patriots back in 2019. The Raiders are also lacking defensively. They do not have any linebackers deserving of a starting role and will be depending on second year corners to cover top receivers in football. Assuming the Raiders would get rid of Carr in order to bring in Tom Brady, they would free up an additional 20 million in cap space giving them as much money as possible to make the team more palpable for him to join. One thing is certain, Tom Brady is not going to join a team if he thinks he is going to have to carry them. The longer free agency goes this summer without him singing somewhere, the greater the chance the Raiders have to present Brady with a team he would be willing to join. I expect the Las Vegas Raiders to be the best cultural fit but far from being the best roster one.
Indianapolis Colts (+800): 9th in the league in sacks allowed per game (2.0), 16th in yards allowed per game (346.81), 1st in the league in Cap Space ($96,459,492)
The Colts seemed ready to make a Super Bowl run with Andrew Luck in the 2019 season. It became a real issue when the Luck announced his retirement in the middle of the preseason. After the team scrambled to find a quarterback for week one, they eventually settled for Jacoby Brissett. While the quarterback was serviceable, he was only able to lead the Colts to a 7-8 season as a starter. With weapons like Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton, and Eric Ebron Tom Brady would be very comfortable in the offense. With a near bottomless pit of cap space, the Colts could spend money on the top defensive free agents to ensure there is never too much pressure on Brady to score offensively. I am actually surprised the Colts are not at least tied with the Raiders and Cowboys to land him. If you are planning on betting, this could be a great pick with high upside.
Cleveland Browns (+900): 16th in the league in sacks allowed per game (2.6), 22nd in the league in yards allowed per game (361.56), 15th in the league in Cap Space ($52,160,015):
There is no better team in the league that could offer more offensive weapons than the Cleveland Browns. No other team on this list can say they a collection of players better than Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and David Njoku. There is only one problem. It’s the Browns. The poorly run franchise would have to clean up an entire decade of poor decisions to convince Brady to join the team. That image hasn’t exactly improved considering they hired Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach. The former offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings is coming off a very poor showing in the NFL playoffs. The Browns even had the chance to pursue Josh McDaniels, Tom Brady’s offensive coordinator from New England. That would have given them a major advantage to sign Brady, but they didn’t. Why should we expect anything good from the Browns at this point? I would pass on this one.