Chris Long has quite a bit of time on his hands.

The newly retired defensive lineman admitted as much while filling in as a guest columnist for Sports Illustrated. The two-time Super Bowl champion offered his take on five of football’s biggest storylines of late, including Antonio Brown’s ongoing helmet saga.

Long really flexed his creative muscles while projecting the future of Tom Brady. Instead of actually trying to predict how the rest of Brady’s career might unfold, Long decided to tap into a fantasy world where the star quarterback and the New England Patriots have no other choice but to part ways. If this situation ever were to arise, Long believes there only would be one landing spot for his former teammate.

“Let’s get even crazier and hypothesize that Tom would like to wear a new uniform at 43 years old,” Long writes. “There’s only one place I could see him going — back to the Bay.”

Long acknowledged the San Francisco 49ers already are set at quarterback with Brady’s former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo. In turn, the No. 2 overall pick in 2008 creates a wild, hypothetical path in which Jimmy G ends up back in New England and paves the way for a Brady homecoming.

From Long:

The Pats shipped Jimmy Garoppolo out West in 2017 for the 43rd overall pick and have parlayed that bounty into six players with more picks to come. Garappolo was once thought to be Brady’s heir apparent, and maybe he is after all.

Let’s say Jimmy G has a modest year (I don’t think he does) and looks like Tannehill 2.0. Next offseason, Brady hits the market and expresses interest in returning home to suit up for the team he adored as a teenager (in 1990). San Francisco releases Garoppolo and he ends up back in New England, where Belichick beautifully repurposes what’s perceived as damaged goods. The Niners will have no choice as the 2019 Brady-led Pats will play too well to land them a high pick in a QB-rich draft (unless they can convert their cache of picks into a top 10 prospect). The Italian Stallion leads the Pats to an unlikely Super Bowl berth where he meets — you guessed it — the GOAT.

Now that would be something.

While it’s fun to dive into “what ifs,” the most likely scenario is Brady finishing out his career in Foxboro. Even though Brady’s new contract technically is just a one-year deal, one has to imagine the future Hall of Famer and the Patriots will continue to reach agreements so as long as Brady is playing at a high level.

Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images