Stephen A. Smith isn’t ready for Tom Brady to don silver and black.
Although the Raiders reportedly plan to pursue Brady in free agency this offseason, Smith believes the longtime Patriots quarterback should think twice before leaving New England to join Las Vegas. As far as Smith is concerned, there are more attractive options available.
“I hate it, personally. Doesn’t work for me,” Smith said Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take” of Brady potentially joining the Raiders. “First of all, (Raiders quarterback) Derek Carr completed 70 percent of his passes this year, let’s not forget that. Secondly and more importantly, (Raiders head coach) Jon Gruden is a guy who primarily wants to focus on the run. In today’s day and age, clearly, a mobile quarterback is the direction you need to be going. The league is sending a message, the athletes on the defensive side of the ball in this day and age are so elite that, you know what, if you’re an immobile quarterback — the Tom Bradys, the Drew Brees’ of the world, others — you respect what they’ve done, you know what they’re still capable of, but in the end, they’re stationary targets.
“I’m not a guy that looks at Jon Gruden’s offense and finds him to be brilliant, per se. I think that he’s a great motivator. I think that his sound bites are great and motivational tactics are great and what have you. I don’t necessarily dislike what he and (Raiders general manager) Mike Mayock are doing. But I think it needs a lot more than people realize at times, and I just don’t think that’s a situation that 42-year-old Tom Brady needs to be walking in.
“If Tom Brady is going to leave the New England Patriots, he needs to leave for an organization, a franchise, a team that says, ‘We have everything else but this, and you are that missing piece.’ It can’t be, ‘Well, we’ve got a multitude of pieces that are missing, but you’re gonna do so much to help us.’ Nah. That is not the situation that he belongs in. I don’t think the Las Vegas Raiders are the team he should be thinking about. I don’t like it at all.”
Speculation linking Brady to the Raiders has gained steam since the six-time Super Bowl champion was spotted talking to franchise owner Mark Davis at UFC 246 in Las Vegas last month. The popular argument is Brady would boost interest in the team as it embarks on its first season in Sin City. Meanwhile, Brady could benefit from playing alongside a solid offensive line and an intriguing young stable of weapons. Plus, he’d likely be well-compensated for such a move.
Of course, there are other destinations that might be more conducive to what Brady is looking for, although his top priorities on the open market aren’t exactly clear at this point. The Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts are among the teams who’ve been floated as possibilities.
All told, Brady ultimately might wind up back in New England, provided the Patriots reward him with a fair contract and perhaps enhance his supporting cast ahead of the 2020 season. But the next several weeks will be fascinating, nonetheless, as the greatest player in NFL history contemplates his next move.