Tom Brady, the winner of seven Super Bowl rings and known as the greatest quarterback of all time, is set to hit free agency if he decides to return for the 2023 NFL season.
Former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson would like to see the GOAT help the 49ers finally get over the championship hump next year.
“Here’s my dream scenario for [49ers general manager] John Lynch and [coach] Kyle Shanahan. There’s a guy in South Florida who is 45 years old,” Johnson said Monday on ESPN Radio. “[If I’m the 49ers’ front office], I’m going to have a conversation with him come free agency, and I’m going to say, ‘Hey, you get to ride off into the sunset with essentially the same type of team that you had when you left New England and you went to Tampa [Bay].
“I want you to come play for me in [San Francisco], Tom. I’ve got a stout defense. I’ve got a running game. I’ve got one of the most dynamic players in the NFL on the offensive side of the ball in Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel, who is No. 2. We can upgrade one or two receiver positions. By the way, we’ve got one of the top tight ends in [George] Kittle.”
The 49ers’ magical 2022 season came to an unsatisfying end Sunday in their 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. Now, the team enters another offseason in which its plans at the quarterback position will be the hottest topic. Speculation about next season began, well, in the third quarter Sunday when the game got out of hand.
Brock Purdy, also known as Mr. Irrelevant, was one of the best stories in football this season. He improbably took over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in Week 13 and steered the team to the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed, only to suffer an elbow injury in the first quarter Sunday that axed the 49ers' hopes of stealing a victory in Philadelphia.
Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, is expected to be ready to return from his season-ending ankle injury for the 49ers' organized team activities this spring. With just four career starts under his belt, Lance still is an unknown commodity with a high ceiling.
Jimmy Garoppolo will hit free agency and likely will find a home elsewhere, although we all have learned to not rule anything out after he returned to the 49ers in August against all odds.
San Francisco has made the NFC title game three times in the last four years but has no Super Bowl rings to show for it. Johnson believes Brady could help Shanahan, Lynch and the 49ers' veteran players finally win the big one while also playing a part in the franchise’s future.
“All I need you to do is teach Brock Purdy and Trey Lance how to play football,” Johnson said. “I just need you for a year.”
Brady announced his retirement from the NFL last February, only to announce his plans to return for another season 40 days later.
His numbers greatly dipped in his 23rd season. Brady registered just 4,694 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in 17 games as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers limped to an 8-9 record and a quiet wild-card round exit in the playoffs. His 90.7 passer rating ranked 18th in the league.
Will Brady return for another season?
RELATED: Warner, 49ers bracing for Ryans to land head-coaching job
"Jim, if I knew what I was going to f--king do, I'd have already f--king done it. OK?" Brady told Jim Gray on the “Let’s Go!” podcast last week. "I'm taking it a day at a time."
If Brady did return and sign with the 49ers, it would be a homecoming for the San Mateo, Calif., native who grew up rooting for the Red and Gold.
“Here’s the caveat,” Johnson said on ESPN. “You were a little boy -- remember that jersey that you wore? Joe Montana?
“This could be your dream scenario.”