New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a monumental decision to make over the next few months that will forever impact his legacy.
The 42-year-old veteran is able to hit free agency in March for the first time in his career, creating the possibility of him playing for a new team after spending his first 20 NFL seasons with the Patriots. Of course, Brady could re-sign with the Patriots and continue the franchise's pursuit for a record seventh Super Bowl championship. The third option is retirement, but that doesn't seem likely given his comments after Saturday night's season-ending loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card round.
What will it take for Brady to return to Foxboro for at least another season? One of his former teammates and NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison offered an interesting take during Sunday night's "Football Night in America" broadcast on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's role in the situation.
“Their relationship has been kind of up and down,” Harrison said. “They’ve always had a respect for one another, but I think if coach Belichick, if he goes to Tom and he says, ‘Look, I really want you the next couple years. I’m going to take care of you. Something fair financially, but also, I’m going to add some more playmakers around you.’ I think Tom would seriously consider re-signing with the Patriots.
"He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He just bought a house in Greenwich, Conn., he has ties to the Boston area. Why, if you’re Tom Brady, would you want to go out to say, Las Vegas, and play for the Raiders when you’re already established? He just wants to know that his coach wants him in New England.”
Belichick has been Brady's head coach for the quarterback's entire career. One of the reasons for Brady to remain in New England is Belichick's presence. Belichick is still the clear-cut best coach in the league, and his preparation and overall football smarts give the Patriots a valuable advantage each week. Brady will not find a better head coach if he leaves Foxboro.
The Patriots offense struggled mightily over the second half of the regular season and in their playoff game versus the Titans, scoring an average of just 20.3 points during that nine-game span. Brady, to his credit, still had a solid year from a statistical perspective considering all the offensive line injuries, wide receiver inexperience/turnover and run game issues that he had to deal with.
The Patriots, for many reasons, would be wise to bring Brady back for another season. He's still a top-tier quarterback, but the Patriots would have to surround him with much more talent at the skill positions than they did in 2019 if they hope to return to the Super Bowl.