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Which teams are “laying in wait” for Tom Brady?

Sources tell Chris Simms that the 49ers are out on Tom Brady and his final decision comes down to the Buccaneers or returning to the Patriots.

Adam Schefter of ESPN, who has ties to fellow Michigan man Tom Brady and his agent, Don Yee, hasn’t been reporting much of substance regarding Brady’s next destination lately, other than to continue to bang the drum that Brady may be leaving the Patriots.

Consider this quote from Schefter, while appearing with Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter: “Tom Brady does not have anything close to a deal with New England yet. Now I know people think, well, he’s going back to New England. What makes them think that? Why would they think that now when this has been going on since he put the motion into place where basically he voided the contract, there haven’t been any substantial contract negotiations, there hasn’t been anything that resembles a deal, why do people think now that all of a sudden, at the 24th hour, something’s gonna get done that hasn’t gotten done in previous weeks and months? I don’t understand that. And all these teams now that have been laying in wait, are all gonna have their crack and chance at Tom Brady. And I know he’s gonna be 43, and I know he’s not as young as he used to be. But he’s still the greatest quarterback of all time, and other teams for the first time in his career are gonna be allowed to talk to him and try to persuade him from leaving New England, and I think there’s a real chance that somebody’s gonna be able to do that.”

So which teams are “laying in wait”? The Raiders’ interest in Brady seems to have dramatically cooled, if it ever was truly there. The 49ers opted out. The Titans, if anything, used potential interest in Brady to leverage a deal with Ryan Tannehill. So who else is there?

The Buccaneers are on the list, but they’re hardly laying in wait. Their head coach, tampering be damned, mentioned during the Scouting Combine that Brady will be a target -- and recent reports have reinforced that.

The only other teams at this point that potentially would be lurking for Brady are the Dolphins, the Colts, the Chargers, the Cowboys (in the highly unlikely event that they become exasperated with Dak Prescott’s demands), and the Panthers (if they move on from Cam Newton). A curveball supposedly is possible, but even the broadest possible list of teams hardly amounts to “all these teams . . . that have been laying in wait.”

Besides, this position ignores the fact that, even though offers can’t be extended until Monday at noon ET, Brady and Yee have had weeks to unofficially identify interested teams and entertain offers. Brady and Yee surely know by now who will be all in on Brady, and as Chris Simms has surmised it now comes down to the Buccaneers, and perhaps no one else.

By all appearances, Brady will have to choose between Tampa Bay and staying put. And the very real prospect of no offseason program could make staying put more practical for Brady. Especially if “all these teams” ultimately amounts to just one team, in Tampa.

So why go out on a limb and suggest that a long list of teams are “laying in wait”? Well, sometimes, that’s the price that has to be paid to get a five-minutes head’s up on an agreement before the agreement is widely announced.