If the opportunity presents itself, Tom Brady’s childhood idol, Joe Montana, believes the six-time Super Bowl champion should continue his NFL career in New England.

Stephen A. Smith agrees.

Brady in March will become a free agent for the first time in his career, and at the very least, it sounds like he’ll at least entertain the possibility of playing for a team other than the Patriots. Brady’s latest season in Foxboro, of course, was a challenging one, as New England effectively fell apart in the second half of the campaign and failed to make it out of the wild-card round. But Smith believes Brady shouldn’t be catching flak for these shortcomings and he thinks the future Hall of Famer, even in his 40s, would be able to lead a retooled Patriots team in 2020.

” … When I look at the New England Patriots, what I am saying is this 42-year-old quarterback who’s clearly beyond his prime, that’s what you gave him to work with,” Smith said Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take. “Listen, look at the plethora of teams around the National Football League and tell me what Tom Brady would’ve done with them if he had weapons. I understand that he’s not the Tom Brady of old, but to me, this past season was not his fault. Give him some weapons to throw the football to. The brother still threw for 4,000 yards. It wasn’t impressive — only completed 60 percent of his passes — but (he) had 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions, had a top-10 offense in yards and had a top-10 passing attack. What’s the problem? This brother right here, if you gave him some help, you would see a better version of Tom Brady. When I say he should stay with New England, I’m assuming New England’s going to get him some talent ’cause I don’t believe last year was Tom Brady’s fault.”

Smith does have a back-up plan for Brady should things not work out with the Patriots, though. The ESPN talking head believes the Tennessee Titans, who eliminated Brady and Co. from the postseason earlier this month, could be a good landing spot.

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