Patriots

Could Tom Brady start a 'Super Team' upon becoming a free agent?

Could Tom Brady start a 'Super Team' upon becoming a free agent?

Regarding Tom Brady’s football future, one simple question we all keep coming back to is this: “If not here, then where?”

So far, nobody’s provided a really good answer. Teams with a chance to challenge for championships — as Brady is accustomed — already got a man.

Why would Brady want to go someplace in the middle of a renovation to live out his final NFL days on a 9-7 team trying to find itself?

There doesn’t appear to be a plug-and-play solution, even for a legend.

But maybe we’ve been looking at it the wrong way (myself included). Maybe we’re looking at what other teams currently have in place when trying to envision Brady there rather than envisioning him there and then imagining what could surround him.

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Even approaching 43, Brady remains a bigger draw for a free agent wideout than almost any other quarterback in the league.

Could Tom Brady be the Pied Piper for an NFL "Super Team"? As we reported Sunday, the Patriots will have their shot to keep Brady in house and he’s going to listen.

But if he does hit unrestricted free agency, those around Brady believe the market will be hot. Just as important, it’s believed other free agents will clamor for the chance to go where he lands.

Because of his reputation, résumé and work ethic, Brady is unique as an NFL free agent. In the right situation, he can affect a culture change greater than the one Peyton Manning brought to the Broncos in 2013.

And that’s why, when we look at NFL “have-nots” that missed the playoffs, the presence of Brady and whoever wants to ride with him can quickly turn them into “haves.”

To financially accommodate Brady and others, obviously, a team needs cap space. The Dolphins ($89.4M), Colts ($86.1M) and Buccaneers ($79.9M) are first, second and fourth in available cap space according to the website Over The Cap. The Bills are third ($80.1M) but they have signaled they will ride or die with Josh Allen.

Because of NFL tampering rules, no team is going to step up and express any interest in Brady before he’s a free agent. Actually, they may do the opposite. My dad used to call that playing “Mickey the Dunce.”

I think Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was playing Mickey the Dunce last week when he gave this reply after being asked about Brady.

“We’re a team that is now rebuilding and I don’t know why he’d really want to come to the Dolphins. He’s been one of the fiercest competitors there is and we’re at the stage with the Dolphins trying to really build a team for the future.”

That response was almost identical — I mean, to the syllable — to the one I was given by a Dolphins official prior to the final game of the regular season between Miami and the Patriots.

No team wants to get embroiled in a tampering investigation, so at least the Dolphins are smart enough to get on the same page. Expect other teams to take a similar approach and “get it out there” that they couldn’t envision Brady ever coming to them.  

But I learned late in the week in Miami that interest is already percolating with a number of franchises.

Who would Brady want to bring with him? An obvious possibility would be Antonio Brown.

Even as Brown’s behavior has devolved from quirky to troubling to bizarre, Brady’s remained supportive on social media and stayed in touch with him.

It’s not a stretch to assume Brady wonders if Brown would be as bad off now if the Patriots had just stuck by him. Brown, meanwhile, has kept up his devotion to Brady since his release, reiterating it as recently as five days ago on Instagram. There are hurdles for Brown to clear, obviously. Namely, he needs to be reinstated by the NFL and he’s done little to show he’s on the road to accomplishing that.

But if the NFL is interested in showing the same benevolence with Brown they did with Josh Gordon, then maybe AB has a shot. The list of free agent wideouts and tight ends isn’t overwhelming.

But if Brady were to go to a team like Tampa Bay which already has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman and O.J. Howard there, it’s not like they’d need a lot to bolster the people for Brady to throw to. And even if Brown weren’t reinstated, hauling Danny Amendola — also a free agent — would help the comfort level as well.

Brady’s potential impact wouldn’t just affect guys he’d throw to. Any player — offensive or defensive — would likely relish the chance to get on board any bus Brady was helping drive.  

If, as I’ve been told, it’s not about the money for Brady as much as it is a level of commitment and the pieces around him to make playing quarterback enjoyable, then Brady’s financial demands in a new place might not be extreme.

Whether it’s $30M, $25M or even less than that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the chance to go into the year optimistic about what it’s going to look like when the games begin.

The past two years in New England it’s looked rough at the start. In 2019, it stayed that way.

How can the Patriots convince Brady that, this year, it won’t look that way in September? Does Bill Belichick even want to try to convince him? From his perspective, players play, they don’t make the personnel decisions.

If that’s the stance, there will likely be teams out there willing to let Brady have a say. And his voice will carry weight around the league.

Remarkable stat shows Patriots' dominance in games decided by 10 or more points

Remarkable stat shows Patriots' dominance in games decided by 10 or more points

The New England Patriots have won a lot of games over the course of the past two decades. Under Bill Belichick, they've been as well-coached as they come and they simply do a lot of the little things right.

With that said, one of the big reasons that they've avoided losing? Typically, if a team wins the game by double digits, it's going to be the Patriots.

According to Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf), the Patriots have been, far and away, the league's best in games decided by 10+ points since 2001.

That's wildly impressive and officially, they're winning 83 percent of their games that are decided by double figures. To further contextualize how crazy this stat is, the team with the second-most double-digit wins, the Pittsburgh Steelers has 104, a full 38 less than the Patriots.

That's absolutely mind-blowing.

Some will argue that part of the Patriots' success in this area is related to playing in the AFC East; the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets rank in the bottom-11 in this category. But even still, the Patriots' consistency in this category is remarkable, and it's just another feather in the cap of Belichick from his two decades in charge of this team.

It will be interesting to see if Belichick can replicate this success without Tom Brady at the helm. Their performance in such affairs will surely be something to watch as they start a new quarterback, perhaps Jarrett Stidham, permanently for the first time since Brady took over as the starter back in 2001.

Tom Brady's heartfelt goodbye video is sure to give Patriots fans chills

Tom Brady's heartfelt goodbye video is sure to give Patriots fans chills

It appears that Tom Brady has finally found the words to officially say goodbye to the New England Patriots and their fans.

Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the offseason, ending a 20-year run with the Patriots that saw the team make it to nine Super Bowls and win six. But as Brady explained in a piece on The Players' Tribune, he's ready for a new challenge. And there were rumors that after the magnificent two-decade run, he was simply "Belichick'd out".

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And in addition to all this buzz, Brady was finally able to put together a video goodbye addressed to the Patriots and their fans. Here's a look at the heartfelt farewell, per his official Twitter account.

Surely, that will give fans chills and afford them a chance to relive some of the best moments of Brady's time with the team. And it was nice that Brady officially gave credit and thanks to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft as well, including a clip saying the following:

It's really just about the relationships, you know? It's about the people that I play for. The people that I play with. I think I came into a great situation here. I think there's been a great coach, a great owner, and great teammates.

And not to mention, great success. The Patriots put together one of the greatest dynasties of all time with Brady and Belichick at the helm. And Brady's video brings back the amazing memories and championships that came over the course of those 20 years.

But now, they'll go their separate ways. Belichick will try to rebuild without Brady. And Brady will give Tampa Bay his all as the 42-year-old continues to provide further evidence that he's the greatest player to ever play the game of football.