“What’s up with Tom Brady?”
“Where is Brady going?”
“Brady Free Agency.”
These are all questions we’ve put into Google ever since the Patriots’ season ended on January 4 in the AFC Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans. Tom Brady, in his 20th season with the Patriots, is a free agent this offseason starting, March 18, 2020.
Brady, for the first time in his career, is an unrestricted free agent; this means Brady’s future team rests in his own hands.
Tom Brady is largely renowned as the Greatest of All Time because of his great success and achievement as a quarterback, leading the New England Patriots to eight Super Bowls and winning six of them. He has caused one of, if not the, greatest dynasties in sports and NFL history. Tom Brady has embodied the dynasty and the idea of constant success, and he has brought the success to Boston and New England ever since being drafted 6th round, 199th pick in the 2000 draft.
Now, this off-season poses interesting questions for the 42 year old. Retire? Stay? Leave? Brady has stated time after time, including after this season, that he “still has more to prove” and that “he’s not done yet.” At this point, it seems highly unlikely Brady will leave the game of football. However, it is more likely that Brady will leave the Patriots. Brady renegotiated his contract at the beginning of the 2019 season, and his new deal includes a provision that does not allow New England to franchise or transition tag him for the 2020 season. This means that unless New England agrees to a new deal with Brady beforehand, his contract with the team will void on March 17. He will then be able to start negotiating with other teams on March 18, when the new league year formally begins.
Speculations are vast on where Brady is going to play next year and what his future holds. “I think he’s going to leave, and if he stays it’ll be for something he doesn’t like, like a much cheaper deal or a one year deal. I don’t think it makes sense from the Patriots end to have him back,” senior and football fanatic Nathaniel Rosenberg said.
Tom Brady has explicitly said very little about his plans for next season, but on social media, he has posted multiple times teasing his fans. On Instagram, he posted a picture after the AFC Wild Card loss with a long caption concluding, “Because I know I still have more to prove,” implying his non-retirement. He posted a cryptic picture of him in a tunnel to a field, yet that turned out to be a preview for the Hulu advertisement that aired during the Super Bowl, in which, Brady said, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Rosenberg isn’t shocked by Brady’s posts.“I doubt he’s retiring. I think that man needs football; he needs the competitiveness,” Rosenberg said. “I think it’s a good way for him to make money, to keep him busy. I don’t know why he wouldn’t retire; he’s accomplished everything he could: he’s very rich, super famous, but he doesn’t seem like he wants to.” At the moment, Tom Brady has not expressed any desire to leave the Patriots, nor any desire to stay.
Everyone has a different take, a different team in his future. There are various analysts and experts making a case for all 32 teams. “The Patriots are famous for moving on from players one year too early not one year too late,” Rosenberg said. “From their side, they now have a quarterback that’s not that strong; it makes sense to move on. From his side, he’s never taken a big money deal. There’s going to be a team (or teams) that’s willing to throw that at him, whether it’s like the Chargers or the Raiders, so it’s probably also time to move on.”
If Brady leaves, the Patriots dynasty will most likely be finished. It has already been crumbling with Brady’s age and declining statistics. “He’s hit the aging curve better than any other NFL quarterback,” Rosenberg said. “Most quarterbacks aren’t performing at a high level into their 40s, so it’s surprising to see him last this long. But last year he basically fell of a cliff: the numbers have him as a top 30, top 20 quarterback maybe, but not a very strong one overall. His efficiency was down, his yards per attempt was down, his completion percentage was down, his interception rate was up, all this other negative stuff, but they were carried by an amazingly strong defense.”
If he leaves, the future of the Patriots is up to Bill Belicheck to repair and rebuild. “Maybe they’ll bring him back for nostalgia, but Bill Belicheck’s never really operated with nostalgia, he’s operated with an attitude towards winning and Tom Brady isn’t a winning asset at this point,” Rosenberg said in regards to whether Brady will stay or go.
Sophie Axelrod ’22