The Tom Brady sweepstakes apparently were more active than we realized.
Brady, of course, left the New England Patriots in March to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many reports indicated his decision came down to the Bucs and the Los Angeles Chargers.
But NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday reported Brady also had real interest from the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. In fact, the Bears made an offer to Brady, who reportedly communicated a desire to join the Saints if Drew Brees retired.
From Rapoport’s column:
Both teams held multiple conversations about Brady and both at one point were in the running. As it turns out, Brady’s market was more robust than previously thought.
For the Saints, the inquiries — back-channel or otherwise — ended when Drew Brees announced on Instagram that he would return for 2020.
Brady made no secret of the fact that if Brees was retiring and heading to the TV booth, Brady would like to replace him. Brady mentioned this, sources say, to a few Saints players, knowing that word would get back. New Orleans was into it, as well, with Brady seen by head coach Sean Payton as the perfect replacement for Brees.
As for the Bears, they looked into all the available QBs before eventually trading for Nick Foles (who will be the backup for Chicago today). Brady was one of them, and Chicago made an offer, sources say.
Rapoport also noted that Brady was interested in Chicago, but ultimately was not high on playing in a cold-water city.
Brady will make his Buccaneers debut at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday when Tampa visits New Orleans. The Cam Newton-lead Patriots, meanwhile, will open their season at 1 p.m. ET against the Miami Dolphins.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images