Many folks around the football world believe Tom Brady is going to be the linchpin in NFL free agency.

Brady headlines the list of noteworthy quarterbacks expected to be available this offseason, either on the open market or via trade. Once the six-time Super Bowl champion makes his decision, we’ll likely see the rest of the available signal-callers fall in line shortly thereafter. Most QB-needy teams likely will at least kick the tires on Brady this spring and will need to act fast if they don’t win the sweepstakes.

Outside of the Patriots, the Raiders seemingly have emerged as the team most motivated to land Brady. Should TB12 end up in Las Vegas, Colin Cowherd believes he knows who Bill Belichick will pursue to replace Brady under center in New England.

“Domino No. 2, if that happens, I think Belichick goes and gets Derek Carr,” Cowherd said Tuesday on FS1’s “The Herd.” “He’s the best quarterback on the roster, he’s 28 years old, 101 passer rating, 70 percent completion rate. He’s very efficient. The knock on him is that he’s not a ‘put the franchise on my back’ guy, but they’ve won multiple Super Bowls with Brady and the story two years ago said that the Patriots don’t think Tom is capable of carrying a bad franchise.”

Carr wouldn’t be a terrible option. His potential appears to be fairly limited, but there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t help guide a Patriots team to the playoffs, especially with Belichick still calling the shots. New England probably wouldn’t be a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Carr, but at a minimum, he could help bridge the gap to the next quarterback in Foxboro.

We’re admittedly getting a bit carried away here, though. The far more likely scenario seems to be Brady re-upping with the only NFL franchise he’s ever known.

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