Now that the 22-23 season has come to a close, all eyes will be on quarterback Tom Brady. The 45 year old will be a free agent this offseason if he continues to play. Just to get this out of the way, there is a real chance he just simply retires. He has long said that his goal was to play until he was 45 years old and he has achieved that. There is not much left for Brady to prove but in the event he decides to keep it going, these teams could make a run at him.
The 49ers are the top team on this list because they are simply the best team on this list and possibly the best team in the NFL even without Brady. The reasons Brady could potentially end up there are obvious. A team that is ready to roll and win a championship with good weapons and a great defense and Brady would be returning to home to play for his childhood team.
Despite San Francisco being the possible best destination for him, it may not be the most likely. For starters, it has been widely reported that Brady prefers to be on the East Coast in order to be near his son who lives in New York. That was a big factor in Brady deciding to come to Tampa in the first place. Does Brady want to move across the country for most likely one year and learn a brand new offense and have brand new teammates? Tough to say. Brady has also been rejected by the 49ers a few times before on draft day back in 2000 and again in 2020. It would be a great story, but not sure it is as realistic as some believe.
Yes, the Bucs are not number one on this list. Why should they be? The went 8-9 with a very talented roster and now have a lot of questions surrounding them. The reason Tampa Bay is second though? If Brady wants a path to the playoffs, the Bucs are a strong bet to do it with him in the fold. The Saints have a lot of questions and also have no first round pick, the Falcons and Panthers have made some strides, but are still probably a year away from making legit noise. Tampa Bay won the division with a losing record in 2022, there’s no reason they couldn’t win the NFC south for the third straight year if Brady returned.
Another thing the Bucs have going for them is familiarity. Brady is familiar with the Bucs weapons and the entire organization. That matters and a lot of the Bucs offensive starters will be returning in 2023. Brady knows how good Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are. Combine that with a new offensive coordinator and Brady may see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Oddsmakers, however, feel Tampa Bay has the best odds of retaining the future Hall of Famer. This via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Brady was linked to the Titans in his first free agency tour in 2020 and they are getting linked to him again this time around. He has a really strong relationship with Titans HC Mike Vrabel and the Titans offense has been missing that dynamic difference maker at QB. The thing about Tennessee though is they are in the AFC. That means just to get to the Super Bowl, Brady may have to face off against the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes. Brady understands that it is tough enough to get to the Super Bowl and that may make it even harder. The Titans have a shot because of Brady’s relationship with Vrabel, but not sure how likely it is.
The Dolphins and Brady have been linked together in the past and it would not surprise me if Miami makes some noise there, even though they have made it clear they have faith in Tua as their quarterback. Despite that faith, it would be hard to turn away from Brady and the potential to pair him with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. I think the Dolphins are pretty unlikely because of their commitment to Tua, but there is no doubt it would be enticing if Miami were to come calling.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t get the Raiders thing. The Raiders defense has not been good and lacks a lot of talent on that side of the ball. They also have a poor offensive line which as Bucs fans saw this year, is a big issue when Tom Brady is your quarterback. The Raiders do have the potential to add some pieces in free agency with a lot of cap space and they have a top ten pick to build on, but it is difficult to fill all needs in one offseason. Also if Josh McDaniels is not their HC, is there any buzz for Brady to go there? Then there is the elephant in the room which is would Brady really volunteer to play Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs as well as Justin Herbert and the Chargers twice a year? The Raiders might finish third in that division even if they do improve.
At the end of the 2019 season, the Bucs were truly a quarterback away. The 2022 Raiders are not in that same position.
Brady may retire, but if he keeps playing he will have options all over the place. He will be very selective on his next destination and time will tell what happens with TB12.