Will the 49ers try to get Tom Brady to end his second annual retirement?
When Tom Brady retired for the second straight February 1, he said it’s for good. And he likely meant it.
But we’ve learned that Brady: (1) doesn’t always say publicly what he truly believes; and (2) sometimes says things he means, and eventually does something different.
For example, he said years ago that he’ll retire when he sucks. He clearly doesn’t suck. While he may not be at his peak abilities, he still has a combination of brain and brawn that allowed him to set a regular-season record for pass attempts and completions.
And he acknowledged this in one of his podcast episodes since retiring for a second time. Yes, he meant it when he said he’ll retire when he sucks. But he retired (twice) before he got to that point.
The question now is whether things get to the point where he’ll come back, again.
The 49ers ultimately could have a major influence over the final outcome. Trey Lance missed nearly all of 2022 with a broken ankle. Brock Purdy’s elbow apparently is more messed up than believed, given that he can’t even have surgery on it yet, due to the lingering swelling. There are real questions about the quarterback position for a team that is otherwise among the NFL’s elite.
Brady wanted to sign with the 49ers in 2020. The 49ers politely declined. Last year, after the Brian Flores lawsuit derailed Brady’s secret plan to join forces with Sean Payton in Miami, there may have been another effort to see if the time was right for Brady to play for the team for which he grew up rooting.
Now, with Jimmy Garoppolo finally moving on and real questions about Lance and Purdy, why shouldn’t the 49ers make a move for Brady? Their championship window remains open, even if they’ve been unable to fly through it. Brady could be the missing piece to the first San Francisco Super Bowl victory in 29 years -- since the 29th Super Bowl.
Nothing can be ruled out at this point. Brady’s contract will expire next month, and he’ll become a free agent. The retirement letter he sent to the league and the union means jack diddly squat. He can play whenever, wherever, and for whomever he chooses.
Even if he completely and entirely means it when he says he’s currently retired, it means nothing. What matters is how he feels as football season creeps toward him, one day at a time.
Maybe he won’t unretire for a second time. The point is that, no matter how he feels now, no one knows (including him) how he’ll feel later.
Especially if the 49ers become persistent in their efforts to bring Brady home. And if Brady realizes that, with Patrick Mahomes possibly ready to make a run at seven, it could be wise to try to get No. 8.