Tom Brady is preparing to enter his age 42 season with the New England Patriots, having just signed a two-year, $41 million contract extension.
Brady, however, also put his Brookline, Mass., home on the market, leading many to wonder if this is indeed TB12's last year at Patriot Place. While Brady's contract extension takes him through the 2021 season, the new deal also has a stipulation that the final two years will be voided if not renegotiated by the end of the 2019 league year. That would make Brady a free agent at the end of this season and has those humble Patriots fans worried the six-time Super Bowl champion could bolt town for another team.
Would Brady really finish his career with a different franchise?
Chris Long, who played with Brady, only can see the legendary quarterback playing for one other team -- the 49ers.
Long is playing guest columnist at Sports Illustrated, and he laid out a wild scenario in which Brady ends up back in the Bay and current 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo returns to 1 Patriot Place.
"Let’s get even crazier and hypothesize that Tom would like to wear a new uniform at 43 years old," Long writes. "There’s only one place I could see him going -- back to the Bay. And here’s how it happens.
"Let’s say Jimmy G has a modest year (I don’t think he does) and looks like Tannehill 2.0. Next offseason, Brady hits the market and expresses interest in returning home to suit up for the team he adored as a teenager (in 1990). San Francisco releases Garoppolo and he ends up back in New England, where (Belichick) beautifully repurposes what’s perceived as damaged goods."
In Long's scenario, Jimmy G and TB12 finally have the long-awaited master vs. apprentice duel in the Super Bowl, which would be quite the storyline.
Of course, thinking Brady leaves the Patriots to play for another team feels like a fairy tale. Perhaps he's tired of playing for Bill Belichick, and perhaps he'd rather live in the Bay Area rather than frigid Boston, so he packs his bags for his home area.
Then again, as Patriots fans are quick to remind everyone, why would Tommy leave the greatest sports town and all that winning?
Brady's future once again will be one of the prevailing topics of the NFL season, but it's unlikely the 49ers will play a role.