Why weren’t more teams interested in Tom Brady?
It had been unprecedented for a player of Brady’s stature — the greatest quarterback of all time — to become available in free agency, so it was reasonable to expect NFL franchises to line up for the opportunity to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion.
Instead, the Brady sweepstakes reportedly came down to two teams once he announced he wasn’t returning to the New England Patriots for a 21st season: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers.
Brady reportedly chose the Buccaneers — perhaps for reasons unrelated to the teams’ respective rosters — but NBC Sports’ Peter King can’t help but wonder whether the quarterback’s agent, Don Yee, tried and failed to create a larger market before a decision ultimately was made.
“I think Don Yee — being the good agent that he is — tried to get other teams interested, and couldn’t,” King said Thursday on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe,” as transcribed by WEEI.com. “Maybe some other teams did get interested at some point, but I know that all the usual suspects, they called and they tried to get interest in Tom. Maybe some of them did and talked to them.
“Apparently, Tennessee was interested all along in keeping Ryan Tannehill. Indianapolis all along seemed not to be interested in Brady, and some of the other ones, I think we talked about it a while ago — Jon Gruden at the scouting combine basically made it pretty clear (the Raiders) would not be chasing Brady and they would not be inflating the bid for Brady.”
A whole bunch of teams were floated as possible suitors for Brady even before the Patriots’ 2019 season came to a screeching halt in the AFC wild-card round. King mentioned the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Las Vegas Raiders, but the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys were among the other organizations mentioned in speculation related to TB12.
The market seemingly ended up being far less robust than anticipated, though, perhaps because Brady is entering his age-43 season and showed signs of regression in 2019, even if some of his struggles could be attributed to the weak supporting cast he had on offense in New England.
“I think some of this had to do with, and let me put it to you this way,” King continued. “Somebody with a team that I called about two weeks ago and just asked, ‘Are you guys interested or not interested?’ This guy said, ‘Some people in our building are interested. The problem is others are trying to talk them out of it because a year from now we might be in a really difficult situation at quarterback because we took a one or two-year shot at Tom Brady.’ I think that really made it difficult. That really kind of made it more difficult than you would think.
“You would think if Tom Brady is on the market people are all going to be lined up making their pitches. We’ll see. Don Yee hasn’t told his story yet and I don’t know that he will. I am a little surprised that at least as of now it came down to two teams.”
One could argue it’s even more surprising the Patriots reportedly didn’t make a tangible effort to re-sign Brady. It might just work out for him in the end, though, because Tampa Bay’s offense is stacked with weapons, and he therefore is positioned to enjoy a huge bounce-back campaign playing for Bruce Arians.