Tom Brady Reportedly Was Close To Joining This Team Instead Of Bucs

Oh, what could have been

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Tom Brady elected to take his talents to Tampa Bay last year and the partnership has been fruitful, to say the least.

But according to NFL insider Jeff Darlington, Brady was close to signing with one of the Buccaneers’ fiercest rivals before ultimately heading to Central Florida.

In a trailer for the latest episode of HBO’s “The Shop,” Brady is seen explicitly criticizing a team for passing on him in free agency in March of 2020. The clip prompted Tuesday’s panel on “Get Up” to debate which team should most regret not signing TB12 on the open market.

For Darlington, there’s only one answer.

“I’m gonna say it as clear as day: it’s the New Orleans Saints,” Darlington said on ESPN. “Regret might be a strong word because ultimately Drew Brees decided to delay his broadcasting career and come back for one more season. The Saints did the right thing by bringing Brees back. But I think that people still underestimate how close Tom Brady was to signing with the New Orleans Saints up until he ultimately decided on the Bucs. I know that that’s gonna be a statement people try to question. It’s the truth.

“Here’s the deal: Sean Payton cannot look back and say, ‘Man, I would have loved to have Tom Brady last year,’ because it would also have meant that they have him for a few more years moving forward. No question in my mind. The Saints, despite understanding they did what they had to do, there’s a little bit of — let’s call it regret — that Tom Brady is not their quarterback.”

The Saints might have started to feel some regret back in January when the Brady lead the Bucs to an NFC divisional-round win at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. From there, Brees finally called it a career and New Orleans now has a QB situation surrounded by doubt and uncertainty.

So yeah, Payton and Co. might still be kicking themselves over their misstep.

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