One well-connected NFL executive told Peter King at the Scouting Combine that Tom Brady is “the one domino paralyzing the entire NFL right now.”
Basically, teams are starting to realize Brady might, in fact, leave the New England Patriots in free agency, and that realization could bring the rest of the quarterback market to a standstill until he makes his decision.
Shannon Sharpe isn’t quite buying this theory, though, because he believes only a few NFL teams have a realistic shot at landing Brady, much like only a handful of NBA teams had a legitimate chance to sign Kawhi Leonard in free agency this past offseason.
“I compare Tom Brady’s situation to the Kawhi Leonard situation,” Sharpe explained on Tuesday’s episode of “Undisputed” on FS1. “Kawhi Leonard paralyzed the Lakers. He paralyzed the Clippers. He paralyzed Toronto. Did he paralyze the 76ers? Because they gave a max contract to Tobias Harris. Did he paralyze Milwaukee? … No.”
"I compare Tom Brady's situation to the Kawhi Leonard situation in free agency. Kawhi paralyzed the Lakers, Clippers and Toronto. Did he paralyze the 76ers? Milwaukee? No. Brady isn't paralyzing the NFL…he's paralyzed a handful of teams."@ShannonSharpe pic.twitter.com/w0a3JmORKL
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 3, 2020
Sharpe also compared Brady’s free agency to the situation Peyton Manning faced before the 2012 NFL season. While Manning was free to sign anywhere after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, only a few teams emerged as potential suitors. The Denver Broncos, of course, won the Manning sweepstakes.
Brady’s market could be robust when he hits free agency March 18, with the legal tampering period beginning two days prior. Skip Bayless even suggested as many as 13 teams could emerge as potential landing spots. But there also are a decent chunk of teams with their quarterback situations already squared away, so to say Brady’s free agency is “paralyzing the entire NFL” might be a little bit of a stretch.
“Basically, four or five teams that really think they have an outside chance (of signing Brady). Maybe the Raiders. Maybe the Chargers. Tennessee. I think there’s only a handful of teams. But teams that have a quarterback or realize they’re not in position to get Tom Brady, it’s business as usual,” Sharpe said. “Just like the NBA. Yeah, Kawhi was a big domino. But it was business as usual because teams realized, ‘We ain’t getting him. Why are we sitting around hoping and praying and clearing up cap space? He’s not coming to us. He’s not coming to the Knicks. He’s not coming to the Nets.’ So it was business as usual.”
Leonard, who won the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors last season after spending his first seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, ended up signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. Where will Brady sign?
Well, that’s anyone’s guess at this point. But TB12’s free agency saga sure is fascinating.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images