Had Tom Brady's preferred choice in free agency been open to signing the quarterback, he would have already made his return to Gillette Stadium.
Appearing on WEEI's Merloni & Fauria Friday, Seth Wickersham said that Brady wanted to play for his hometown San Francisco 49ers but that the team's coaching staff decided to stick with another former New England Patriots quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, instead.
According to Wickersham, author of the new book "It's Better To Be Feared" about the New England dynasty, Brady made it known to former teammate Wes Welker -- San Francisco's wide receivers coach -- that if the 49ers were interested, he'd return home to the San Francisco Bay Area.
"No free agency tour, nothing," Brady told Welker, Wickersham said. "Full stop, I'll be a Niner. My parents can drive to the games, I get to retire with my childhood team."
NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco reported that San Francisco was made aware of Brady's wishes but decided to stick with Garoppolo, who had led San Francisco 13-3 record in 2019 before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
Maiocco wrote that according to Wickersham's book, 49ers coaches concluded that Brady, 42 at the time, was only marginally better than Garoppolo, 27 at the time, at that stage of their careers.
Brady went on to win Super Bowl LV with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, while the 49ers plummeted to 6-10 as Garoppolo appeared in only six games due various injuries.
Perhaps it's for the best Brady didn't wind up returning home. San Francisco played at an empty Gillette Stadium in 2020 due to the pandemic, and what fun would Brady's return have been with no fans in the stands?
This also may narrow down the choices for whom Brady was referring to when he said, "you're sticking with that motherf---er?" on HBO's The Shop earlier this year in regards to his free agency.