The Super Bowl is officially in the rearview, which means the NFL is about to turn its collective eyes to Tom Brady.
The legendary quarterback is about to embark on free agency for the first time in his illustrious career. Where he ends up is anyone’s guess at this point — the betting odds point to a return to New England — but the consensus is there’s a pretty healthy field building, all hoping to get a sitdown with No. 12.
We aren’t sure what Brady desires in his next contract, but in his weekly MMQB column on Monday, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer laid out what he believes was the biggest issue in Brady’s most recent contract negotiation with the Patriots.
“My belief is that years, not dollars, were at the heart of Brady?s displeasure with last summer?s negotiations — that landed him an $8 million raise for 2019, but nothing beyond that,” Breer wrote on SI.com. “In the end, word was that Brady would?ve liked to do a reasonable deal that would take him to the end of his career. That didn?t happen.”
As for Brady’s market, the Patriots definitely will have some competition. Breer points out a couple of teams, the Raiders and Titans, who could lead the charge.
The Raiders, Breer writes, “make more sense for Tom Brady, from a football standpoint, than you may think.” A strong offensive line with weapons like Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller might appeal to Brady, Breer reasoned.
As for the Titans, Breer thinks Brady’s friendship with Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel is obviously a potential selling point.
“If there’s a team that can appeal in a very personal way to Tom Brady, it’s probably the Titans,” Breer wrote. “Mike Vrabel went through his own separation from New England, and that one wasn?t pretty all the way through either. So it?d be pretty easy for Vrabel to say to Brady, ‘Come over here, and we?ll show them who you are’ (in more colorful language, probably), and it?s easy to see that appealing to Brady on a human level.”
Of course, there’s a reason the betting odds favor Brady returning to Foxboro, as it’s still hard to picture him in anything other than a Patriots jersey.
“His camp needs the perception to be that Brady is ready to leave, because even now there are those who doubt that he?ll actually pull the trigger,” Breer wrote.
March can’t get here soon enough.