Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. That still feels weird to say.
The six-time Super Bowl champion elected to leave the New England Patriots after 20 years, and spend the twilight of his career in Florida. But was that his first choice? According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Brady initially had his eyes on a different team -- the Raiders
"Around the time of the Super Bowl, Brady wants the Raiders, but like they're probably not going to make a big run at him," Rapoport said on Complex's "Load Management" podcast. "And then, everybody was reporting Raiders, and I'm like, 'maybe I'm crazy.'
"Yes. Oh, yes," Rapoport said when asked if Brady wanted the Raiders. "Now, I'm not saying more than the Bucs, but that was a team that he definitely identified and was like, OK, l like this, I could win here."
Rumors of a potential Brady-Raiders pairing swirled for over two months, but the Raiders reportedly never made an offer to the 42-year-old, knowing the type of investment it would take to land him.
On Wednesday, Brady went on the "Howard Stern Show" and talked about the free agency process, appearing to note there wasn't much discussion between the two sides.
“I really believe I could help any organization, and that’s why I signed up to continue to play," Brady told Stern when asked if the Raiders were interested. "If I didn’t think I could do that, I wouldn’t have continued to play. … I don’t know how much interest, they could probably speak to that more than me, I just know the conversations I have with my agent at the time. There were probably a lot of different teams that were interested, I’d say. Some, I want to respect their privacy, too, because they still have organizations they’re running, and I don’t want to f--k with their program at all.”
With Brady in Tampa, the Raiders will head into the 2020 season with Derek Carr back at the helm and Marcus Mariota serving as his backup.
The Raiders are in Year 2 of an extensive rebuild under coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. While improving, the Silver and Black aren't on the same timeline as Brady, so the fit always seemed curious unless the Raiders were willing to accelerate their rebuild.
Stern said he would have renamed the team "The Brady Boys" in order to land the quarterback if he were the Raiders. Instead, the Raiders wisely spent their cap space shoring up a defense that was atrocious for most of the second half of the season.
If Brady plays long enough, perhaps he and the Raiders can have one final playoff bout. You know, for old time's sake.