Tom Brady is the talk of the sports world and he will continue to be until he decides where he will play his age 43 season at.
Smart money is on Brady returning to the New England Patriots, but the Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers and 49ers all have been floated as potential options in some capacity.
The 49ers are fresh off a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and are set up for years of future success. Since championship windows often close fast, it makes sense for the 49ers to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, right? Longtime NFL insider John Clayton doesn't think so.
"Pursue, yes. Acquire, no," Clayton said on the latest episode of The 49ers Insider Podcast. "Here's what's going to happen if Tom does end up coming. It enhances the team's ability to win the Super Bowl next year. When you really look at it, you compare all the eight or nine teams that could be involved, including the New England Patriots, putting Brady on this team, particularly with the running game and the defense and the play-calling of Kyle Shanahan and they could get back to the Super Bowl and win.
"But the problem is the cap problem that's going to be created," Clayton continued. "You know it's not a big deal in terms of Jimmy Garoppolo because again you're only getting $4.2 million of a cap hit. But also it now shrinks down the amount of money available for the George Kittles and some of the re-signings and all that stuff. I think what it does is it just shortens the window by a year or so. You look at the Rams. The Rams go in. They pay $34 million for Jared Goff, they pay $14.5 million for Todd Gurley and now look at the problems they have.
"Again, success going to the Super Bowl, you become a victim of your own success in trying to keep things together. While Brady may give them one Super Bowl ring, he may shorten the playoff run by a year or two."
The 49ers looked to be well on their way to a Super Bowl title with seven minutes to play against the Chiefs. But Patrick Mahomes reeled off 21 straight points and Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrow of Emmanuel Sanders cost the 49ers a chance at a comeback win.
Garoppolo, despite his successful season, was seen as the 49ers' weak link by those on the outside all season. Missing a wide-open Sanders on the potential game-winning touchdown only exacerbated the doubts about Garoppolo's ability to win a Super Bowl.
Brady has won six Super Bowls and, given his penchant for coming through in the clutch, likely hits Sanders on that throw. Even at 43, Brady is a top-tier quarterback and can lead a team to a Super Bowl.
Is winning one Super Bowl worth shortening the championship window?