Cross another team off the list of potential suitors for Tom Brady.
In a video posted Sunday on NBCSports.com, NFL analyst Chris Simms reported the San Francisco 49ers — Brady’s hometown team — have chosen not to pursue the New England Patriots quarterback in free agency.
Joining the 49ers had been Brady’s top choice, according to Simms’ sources.
“Here’s the big news to me: The 49ers are out on Tom Brady,” said Simms, a longtime friend of Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan. “That is not going to happen. In my understanding, Tom Brady’s No. 1 choice was to go to San Francisco and be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
“I don’t know what happened, but something happened in the last few days, to my understanding, to find out that the 49ers are out on Tom Brady, and they will be standing pat with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback.”
The Tennessee Titans bowed out of the Brady sweepstakes earlier Sunday when they signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a four-year contract extension. And Simms’ sources indicated the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders — two teams that have been linked to Brady for months — are out, as well.
“From everything I’ve heard, it’s down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots,” Simms said.
The Buccaneers have been open about their interest in the soon-to-be 43-year-old, with head coach Bruce Arians saying last month Brady is the type of player he’d “pick up the phone” for if he became available. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported this week the Bucs were “going all in” on Brady, and they’d be able to offer the QB a more lucrative contract than he can expect to receive from New England.
Tampa Bay has not reached the playoffs since 2007 and lacks the big-market appeal of a city like Los Angeles, but it boasts an impressive collection of offensive weapons led by 1,000-yard receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and an easy-going coach in Arians who reportedly is willing to give Brady a say in matters like roster construction and play-calling.
There’s still a chance Brady and the Patriots could come to terms on a new deal before he hits the open market. Other teams can begin negotiating with Brady’s representatives at noon ET on Monday, and he officially becomes a free agent at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.