Our Tom E. Curran laid out the hard truth earlier this week: There's a legitimate chance this is Tom Brady's final season with the New England Patriots.
But that begs the question: If Brady leaves New England and doesn't retire -- he just turned 42 and wants to play until he's 45 -- where will he go in 2020?
That hot topic came up on the latest Patriots Talk Podcast, where Curran was joined by fellow NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Phil Perry.
Curran and Perry both believe a number of factors would contribute into where Brady might play next, both on the field (style of offense, coaching staff, personnel, ownership, etc.) and off the field (best fit for his family, best fit for his TB12 business, weather, etc.).
Taking those factors into account, Curran and Perry speculated about a few destinations where Brady could land and made compelling cases for two potential front-runners: the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins.
Here are their rationales for both destinations:
Perry: "They [Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen] have lived in L.A. before. Brady has family in California, northern and southern."
Curran: "His niece will be going to UCLA as a blue-chip softball recruit. That means Tom Sr. [Brady's father] and Galynn [Brady's mother] are frequently making the trip down already."
Perry: "This is a team that could be in need for a quarterback ... [and] could also be looking for a head coach. So, maybe if you're the Chargers, you're looking to hire Josh McDaniels, and you say, 'Hey Tom, we've got $50 million for two years, no problem.' "
"Mike Williams is a very nice deep threat, contested catch guy. ... Big market, great opportunity for TB12 if you're looking for those."
Perry: "I think it's a good culture. I think it's a team on the rise. I also know it's a team that is slated to have over $100 million in cap space going into 2020. You want me to rattle off some guys who could be available via free agency? Because it's kind of interesting. How about A.J. Green? How about Emmanuel Sanders? How about Randall Cobb? How about Amari Cooper?"
"You've got (former Patriots wide receivers coach) Chad O'Shea. You've got Brian Flores as the head coach. You've got Jerry Schuplinski, who worked with the quarterbacks quite a bit in New England and now has a significant role.
"On top of it ... Big market, warmer climate and a very health-conscious fanbase that might be into the whole TB12 idea."
Perry saved his most intriguing point for last: The Dolphins' owner, Stephen Ross, is an alumnus and generous donor at Brady's alma mater, Michigan -- and also is in the real estate market.
"Very high-end condominiums and townhouses is his deal," Perry added. "And it appears, from the surface research I have done, that Brady has lived in or at least purchased multiple units in Stephen Ross-owned and constructed buildings."
Curran and Perry pointed out that this is all speculation for now. But if Brady indeed leaves the Patriots, there are plenty of clues to suggest where he might end up.
Hear more from Curran and Perry on the latest episode of "The Patriots Talk Podcast," which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.
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