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Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers: Which NFL QB will be better over next two seasons?

Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers: Which NFL QB will be better over next two seasons?

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Green Bay Packers with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and for the first time beginning with the 2020 season, they will be playing in the same conference.

Brady made the decision to leave the New England Patriots and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. This move immediately transformed the Bucs into a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but to reach a championship level in the near future, Tampa Bay might have to go through Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

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The Packers have reached the NFC Championship Game in three of the last six seasons. Unfortunately for Rodgers, the Packers lost all three of those playoff games, including a defeat to Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.

Brady will be 43 years old by the start of the 2020 season. Rodgers will turn 37 in early December. Both players have managed to beat Father Time to remain among the top-tier of NFL quarterbacks deep into their careers, but who can we expect to play at a higher level over the next two seasons (the duration of Brady's contract with the Bucs)? 

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer discussed this topic Thursday with our Patriots insider Phil Perry.

"I'm going to say Aaron Rodgers, just because we're in such unprecedented territory with Brady," Breer said. "Brady will be good in 2020, 2021 is a little (more uncertain). I do like with Rodgers -- where the Green Bay roster has gone the last couple of years. There are reasons beyond just Rodgers that they were in the NFC title game last year."

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An argument could be made for Rodgers' team going further than the Buccaneers in 2020, but that Brady will have the better stats.

Brady's offense in Tampa Bay is deep and talented at just about every position. In addition to a good offensive line, the Bucs have two of the league's best wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers tight end depth chart also is quite impressive with Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Add in an offensive-minded head coach in Bruce Arians and you have all the ingredients for one of the highest-scoring teams in football.

Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez recently claimed Brady's wide receiver group in Tampa Bay is the best of the veteran quarterback's career, which is quite a take when you consider the offensive records Brady and the Patriots set in 2007.

We can reasonably assume both the Buccaneers and Packers will be good next season, but what fans really want to see is these two legendary quarterbacks meet in the playoffs. Brady and Rodgers came close to squaring off in a few Super Bowl matchups, but the Packers couldn't make it out of the NFC since 2010.

Who will be a better NFL QB, Patriots' Jarrett Stidham or Packers' Jordan Love?

Who will be a better NFL QB, Patriots' Jarrett Stidham or Packers' Jordan Love?

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Green Bay Packers with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

There was a lot of talk entering the 2020 NFL Draft about the New England Patriots potentially taking a quarterback, perhaps with their first-round pick at No. 23 overall.

Many experts in their mock drafts predicted the Patriots would select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in Round 1. Instead, the Patriots traded out of the first round to acquire more picks, and that opened the door for the Green Bay Packers to take Love at No. 26 overall in the most surprising pick of Round 1.

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If Love was a lot better than Stidham, you'd think the Patriots would've taken him. Love's physical talent is exceptional, but he has a lot of areas in his skill set to improve. Which quarterback will end up being the better player? Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer recently talked to our Patriots insider Phil Perry and gave his prediction.

"This is going to sound crazy -- I'm going to go Jarrett Stidham," said Breer. "I think so much of the development of quarterbacks comes down to the environment they're in, and Jarrett Stidham is going to be in a very good environment, a supportive environment. With Jordan Love, there are just too many unknowns. He's come into the league so raw, and there's no guarantee he's ever going to be the Packers' starting quarterback. I just look at all the variables at play, and I see a lot more certainty in Stidham's situation."

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Love is an interesting spot in Green Bay. He might not even see the field for a few years because the Packets still have an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is 36 years old, but like former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, he's been able to remain a top-tier player deep into his career. Now that Rodgers has a first-round talent behind him, could Love's presence fuel the former league MVP to take his game to an even higher level over the next few seasons?

"Let's start here, I do think it's the Packers' intention to sit (Love) for a few years," Breer said. "And it's one of the advantages the Packers have -- they can evaluate him that way. Most teams can't draft a quarterback in the first round and sit him for two or three years. A lot of people thought that's what Jordan Love needed. The Packers can afford him that if it does take that amount of time. I don't think they drafted him to put pressure on Rodgers, but I do think it's a side benefit, though. I think the idea was this guy is eventually going to succeed Rodgers.

"The best-case scenario for the Packers might be exactly what happened in New England, where Jimmy Garoppolo comes in and lights a fire under Brady. (The Patriots) win a couple championships, and then a few years down the line they've got an incredibly difficult decision to make. That's the sort of problem I think the Packers would love to see -- where Aaron Rodgers is at the top of his game for a few more years, they win a championship or two, and then come the spring of whatever it will be, 2024 or 2025, they've got a real decision to make."

A motivated Rodgers would be a huge lift for a Packers franchise that, despite having Hall of Fame quarterbacks lead its offense for much of the last 30 years, has only reached the Super Bowl once since 2000. 

Why adding Aaron Rodgers in 2021 makes sense for Patriots

Why adding Aaron Rodgers in 2021 makes sense for Patriots

Aaron Rodgers in a Patriots uniform. Can you imagine it? I can. 

When the Packers drafted Jordan Love in the first round, the football world went crazy. Speculation began immediately on what this meant for the future of Rodgers — both in the NFL and in Green Bay. Just Wednesday morning, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk floated out a few teams that may be in the running for Rodgers in 2021. 

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The Patriots were one of the teams mentioned. Florio suggested Rodgers could head to New England next season if “Jarrett Stidham doesn’t pan out.” 

Yes, yes, give me all of the yeses. I’m sure you have a ton of questions. Let me answer them. 

Why, why, whyyyyyy

First and foremost, Aaron Rodgers is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in this era. Trust me when I say Packers fans have long wondered ‘what could have been’ if A-Rodge worked with Bill Belichick instead of Mike McCarthy. I’ll tell you what could have been — many more Super Bowls.

Maybe, but isn’t Rodgers getting old? 

Sure, Rodgers will be 37 next season, but look around, 40 is the new 35. Or something. At any rate, Belichick has already worked with an aging but talented quarterback. He knows how to maximize talent at any age. Why couldn’t he do the same with Rodgers? 

Put Aaron Rodgers and Bill Belichick on the same sideline and the Patriots could raise banner number seven. Maybe even number eight! 

Both men would be out to prove something. Rodgers desperately wants another Super Bowl, if only to stick to all the people in Green Bay who still think Brett Favre was the better QB. I still think Belichick would like nothing more than to win one without Tom Brady. 

What about Jarrett Stidham and building for the future, you ask? 

Great question. Here’s the answer. The Pats only go after Rodgers if Stidham stinks. And if he doesn’t work this season, why not bring in a future Hall of Fame player to bridge the gap? 

Let’s say the Patriots struggle next season and get a pick in the top 10 or 15 of the draft. Let’s assume they take a quarterback in the first round. Will that quarterback be ready to take the reins out of the gate? Hell no. But with one crummy year behind them, the Patriots could bring in Rodgers to help restore that winning feeling while allowing a young quarterback to learn and develop behind one of the best. 

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Rodgers seems like a jerk. Will he help a young QB learn? 

I’d like to think he doesn’t want to be like Favre. When the Packers drafted Rodgers, Favre wouldn’t give him the time of day. Rodgers has always resented the way Favre acted and hated the idea that fans preferred the Mississippi boy which makes me believe he’ll prove he’s “better.”

But, you say, doesn’t Rodgers have a terrible attitude?

Yes, he can be difficult. My green and gold heart has no problem admitting he often acts like an entitled, whiny, petulant child who has… ahem… difficulties respecting authority.

However, I have no doubt he would respect Belichick. Rodgers likes to think he is the smartest guy in the room. But the smartest guys know when to defer to a genius. I feel pretty confident he knows the Patriot Way is an express lane to Title Town. Rodgers would fall in line under Commander Belichick.

Lastly, Rodgers is a perfect cultural fit for New England. The guy is a Grade A, philanthropic, nerd. The Northern Cali boy would relish living in a city known for its academia, arts, and culture. He’d sit courtside at a Celtics game sipping Wyc’s fancy (and DELICIOUS) tequila at night and make the rounds at the State House during the day. 

Sure beats hanging out in Ashwaubenon.