It's negotiating season, and the most high-profile soon-to-be-free-agent in NFL history seems to be wielding his power.
Thursday morning, multiple reports dropped centering around Tom Brady and the reported gap between him and the New England Patriots, opening the door further for the six-time Super Bowl champion to exit Foxboro, Mass.
The strong buzz in Indy this week is that Tom Brady won’t return to the Patriots. Will be first domino to fall in QB musical chairs. #NFLCombine— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 27, 2020
RIP, my mentions.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) February 27, 2020
I know you’ll hate me. I know you’ll tell me I’m an idiot. And I understand why it’s so hard for all of us — myself included — to start accepting this likelihood. Hey, there’s still a chance. But... the reality is... Brady is looking forward to free agency. https://t.co/jDooyna2Hc
The Patriots still have not reached out to Tom Brady. According to a source, “it’s not looking good”— Karen Guregian (@kguregian) February 27, 2020
ESPN's Jeff Darlington also reported that Brady is entering free agency with the idea that he will be playing for a new team when he is under center in 2020.
All this likely was leaked from Brady's camp in an effort to get the Patriots to offer him the money he desires and agree to surround him with the necessary weapons to win a championship. While agent Don Yee seems to be trying to strong-arm the Patriots, it's beginning to appear more and more likely that Brady and coach Bill Belichick will say their peace and go their separate ways after two decades of dominance.
The 42-year-old quarterback is expected to test free agency, and the Raiders, along with the Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers, have been heavily linked to the legendary quarterback, hoping to give their rebuild a jolt by adding the greatest quarterback of all-time.
On its face, the Raiders adding Brady would appear to go against the idea of a ground-up rebuild. But can Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock really say no to Brady if he indeed wants to call Sin City his new home? Should they?
Mayock said he was pleased with quarterback Derek Carr's play in 2019, but the Raiders will evaluate and look to upgrade any and all positions, including quarterback. Signing Brady, even at age 42 going on 43, would qualify as an upgrade. Brady's numbers dipped in 2019, but it was a product of having a receiver group that couldn't get separation, had drop issues and was one of the most undynamic groups in the league.
That's an issue for the Raiders, who had their own wide receiver issues last season. But starting with a core of Hunter Renfrow, Tyrell Williams and tight end Darren Waller is appealing, and the Raiders are sure to use at least one of their two first-round picks on a receiver. They also have over $50 million in cap space to use in free agency, although a large chunk of that would go to Brady.
Couple that with a powerful running game spearheaded by Josh Jacobs, and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and the Raiders' cupboard isn't as bare as it might seem.
Adding Brady would force the Raiders to aggressively ramp up their rebuild. His time is limited and he wants to win at least one more Super Bowl.
Can the Raiders promise to quickly build a winning team around him in a division with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs? It's a dicey proposition.
The smart money still is on Brady returning to New England, but he and the Patriots clearly aren't seeing eye-to-eye as free agency draws near.