Bucky Brooks believes Bill Belichick should rip off the Band-Aid.
As you probably heard, Tom Brady is set to become a free agent, casting uncertainty over his future with the New England Patriots. While it’s difficult to imagine Brady wearing a different uniform, Brooks, a former NFL player and scout now working as an analyst for NFL Media, suggested in his notebook column published Thursday that New England must move on from the veteran quarterback this offseason.
Here’s an excerpt from Brooks:
It is tough to separate your head from your heart in the evaluation business, but Bill Belichick can’t let his affinity for Tom Brady seduce him into keeping TB12 around for another season in New England.
I know parting ways with the six-time Super Bowl champ and three-time MVP, whose resume is synonymous with winning at the highest level, would be viewed as blasphemous in Foxborough. But if the Patriots want to continue competing for titles in the near future, it’s time for them to close the book on the Brady era.
Brooks explained he’s not taking a shot at Brady’s status as the greatest quarterback in NFL history but that it’s simply impossible to deny the regression the six-time Super Bowl champion showed in 2019. He then pointed to several stats highlighting Brady’s shortcomings at age 42.
Obviously, it would take a certain level of intestinal fortitude for Belichick to bid farewell to No. 12, especially if Brady wants to return to New England. But as Brooks notes, the Patriots have several other notable free agents, including Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Joe Thuney.
Allocating too much cap space to Brady could hamstring the organization’s effort to fortify the rest of the roster. Thus, New England can’t afford to live in the past despite Brady’s unprecedented success over the last 20 years.
Here’s more from Brooks:
If the Patriots are going to begin a rebuild, it would be better to usher in a new era with a younger QB1 to grow with a retooled roster. Obviously, no new quarterback will come close to matching Brady’s legacy, but the Patriots need to find a signal-caller who can attack the entire field while also offering some of the movement skills needed to succeed at the position at this time. I’m not suggesting the Patriots need to bring in a Lamar Jackson-type QB, but a younger, more dynamic playmaker would enable the team to attack defenses in different ways.
NBC Sports’ Peter King earlier this week floated Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton as a potential replacement for Brady. Brooks on Thursday added Teddy Bridgewater, an impending free agent who has spent the last two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, to the conversation, which will become more intense if Brady signs elsewhere and the Patriots need to decide whether to roll with Jarrett Stidham as their starting quarterback in 2020 or seek an alternative via trade, free agency or the NFL draft.
One thing is certain, though: The next few months will go a long way toward impacting the Patriots’ long-term future, for better or worse. And Brooks is firmly in the camp that believes New England should close the book on Brady’s illustrious tenure in Foxboro.