Most people believed Tom Brady would be a lifelong member of the New England Patriots.
It’s still possible that will be the case for the 42-year-old quarterback. But with Brady set to explore the free-agent market, there’s a chance that the six-time Super Bowl champion will head to a new organization.
With the start of NFL free agency coming soon, Brady isn’t the only experienced quarterback without a team; Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Dak Prescott are among the players who don’t yet have contracts for the 2020 season.
Because of coronavirus concerns, it’s possible the NFL decides to delay the start of free agency, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, which is set to begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Perhaps no player in the NFL better knows what it takes to get a team to the Super Bowl. Brady has played in the big game nine times and won six of those, establishing the Patriots as a dynasty over the past two decades.
That could be why Brady reportedly has two requests for any team that wants to sign him. According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini (h/t John Breech of CBSSports.com), Brady wants control over the roster and wants to be part of the play-calling decisions.
Many players likely wouldn’t deserve those responsibilities. But Brady is a veteran who will go down as one of the most successful players of all time. Teams may not mind giving him that kind of power-they may even be fans of the idea.
But would Brady really leave New England to play for another team that needs a quarterback, such as the Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Las Vegas Raiders?
Things are much clearer for Brees, who appears to be heading back to New Orleans for the 2020 season.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (h/t Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk), Brees is ready to take a below-market contract to come back to the Saints. He’s had tremendous success with New Orleans over the past 14 seasons, as he’s led the NFL in passing yards seven times and taken the franchise to a Super Bowl title.
This could be a smart move for both parties. The Saints know Brees is a top-tier veteran quarterback, and he’s likely hungry to succeed after controversially losing in the NFC Championship Game at the end of the 2018 campaign and playing only 11 games and falling in the playoffs again this past season.
Of all the veteran quarterbacks referenced, Rivers is the most likely to be heading to a new team. The Chargers announced earlier this offseason that the two sides had mutually agreed to part ways after 16 seasons together.
There’s been a lot of buzz this offseason about Rivers heading to the Indianapolis Colts. Rapoport recently reported that Indianapolis expressed interest in the 38-year-old as recently as February’s NFL Scouting Combine.
The move would make sense. After Andrew Luck surprisingly retired last preseason, the Colts turned to Jacoby Brissett, who passed for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games. It wasn’t a bad campaign, but Rivers would likely bring better production to Indianapolis’ offense.
With the No. 13 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, the Colts could decide to bring in a young quarterback instead. Rivers’ market, meanwhile, will continue to develop over the next few weeks, whether that’s with Indianapolis or a different team.
It’s not likely that Prescott suits up for a team other than the Dallas Cowboys to open the 2020 season.
According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Dallas will likely use the exclusive franchise tag on Monday as it continues to negotiate a long-term deal with its 26-year-old quarterback. Prescott was offered a $105 million contract by Dallas recently, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, so it’s clear that the Cowboys are willing to pay to bring back their starting quarterback.
Over his first four seasons in the NFL, Prescott has started every game for Dallas while earning two Pro Bowl selections and throwing at least 22 touchdowns each year.