Patriots quarterback and soon-to-be free agent Tom Brady ended any speculation about his future Wednesday on Instagram when he posted a long statement that concluded with the 20-year veteran confirming he'll return for his 21st season next fall.
"You don't always win," wrote Brady. "You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove."
It's hard to imagine what Brady actually has left to prove. With six Super Bowl victories and four Super Bowl MVP awards on his resume, he's already in the conversation as the best quarterback in NFL history.
While Brady's Instagram post eliminates any doubt that he'll play in 2020, it doesn't erase questions about where he'll call home.
The Bears are expected to be in the quarterback market this offseason, and for any team searching for a new starter, Brady will be at or near the top of their wishlist. Chicago may not be the ideal destination for the 42-year-old, however. With the team's commitment in Mitch Trubisky as the starter during GM Ryan Pace's end-of-year press conference, veterans like Brady are likely to look elsewhere.
There's also the salary cap working against the Bears. Brady's projected market value is around $34 million per year, according to Spotrac. Chicago isn't expected to have the kind of room under the salary cap to add a hefty salary like that.
Still, it's hard to say for sure what will factor in Brady's decision about where to play next year. The Bears have better skill players than the Patriots fielded in 2019 and the defense is already championship caliber. If he's looking for a Super Bowl and not a big payday, he might take a longer look at Chicago.
At the very least, Brady's commitment to 2020 is good news for the Bears even if they aren't interested in signing him. Maybe he fills the void for another quarterback-needy team and allows Pace's real target — say, Marcus Mariota? — to become an easier catch.
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