Tom Brady, who many regard as the greatest quarterback of all time, officially retired from the NFL in February. But many people in league circles aren't so convinced Brady hung up the cleats "for good," as he said in his retirement video.
One anonymous NFL insider recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that the 49ers need to bring the San Mateo, Calif., native back home to the Bay Area if he does desire a return to the gridiron.
"In our conversations with someone who has been around Tom Brady a lot, from the days in Boston, this person said, ‘The 49ers would be absolutely crazy not to sign him to a one-year deal,' " Maiocco said on a recent episode of "49ers Talk."
San Francisco does make sense as a potential Brady destination if he were to come out of retirement for a 24th NFL season. The 49ers boast a roster oozing with talent still searching for the franchise's sixth ring after two unfruitful trips to the NFC Championship Game and one devastating Super Bowl loss in the last four seasons. Bringing in Brady and his seven Super Bowl rings would be a natural fit.
Plus, the 49ers also face uncertainty at quarterback.
Brock Purdy looked more than capable of handling the top role in his nine games after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury in December. Per NBC Sports Bay Area's Jennifer Lee Chan, Purdy is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right throwing elbow on Friday. He's not expected to be able to fully return to the field for six months.
Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, still has plenty of question marks surrounding his future. He is entering the third year of his rookie contract with just four career starts and 102 pass attempts.
If the stars aligned, would the 49ers consider bringing the 45-year-old Brady to Santa Clara?
"I totally understand that line of thinking," Maiocco said. "But I just don’t see it. What I pointed out to [the NFL insider] was in the 49ers’ locker room -- after the 49ers played the Buccaneers and again after the first round of the playoffs when the Buccaneers lost to the Dallas Cowboys -- the conversation in the locker room was how disinterested Tom Brady looked."
The 49ers have doubled and tripled down in interviews this offseason about their trust in Purdy and Lance.
“We love the two guys we have,” general manager John Lynch told Maiocco in a recent "49ers Talk" episode.
“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said in February. "So when you have that situation, you’re not that eager to go looking around.”
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It doesn't appear likely that Brady will come out of retirement and then sign with San Francisco. But as we learned last year with Jimmy Garoppolo improbably returning to the 49ers for another season, you can't rule anything out.