By: Ryan Cooley
Tom Brady is set to hit free agency for the first time in his 20 year career. Patriots fans across the world will anxiously wait until his decision is made. Will he leave, or will he finish his career in New England? At this point, only time will tell.
Even with the rumors swirling about his potential departure, Brady leaving is not set in stone. There is still a very good chance he stays put. Reports have come out that Brady will not take another discount and is seeking a multi-year contract. This is uncharted territory for the Patriots who have been blessed to have a QB of Brady’s magnitude that gets paid like a bottom level starter.
Here are five potential landing spots for Tom Brady if he decides to leave New England.
Los Angeles Chargers
I believe the Chargers are his best option. Brady had little help from the Patriots’ weapons this year. Edelman led the league in drops, while Sanu, Harry, and Dorsett rarely got open. There is no doubt, if Brady leaves, he will go to a team that has a strong supporting cast, and that is exactly what the Chargers have.
With Los Angeles, he’d have a #1 WR in Keenan Allen, a great TE in Hunter Henry, and if Gordon stays, a deadly duo at RB with him and Ekler. The Chargers defense needs to improve this offseason as they gave up 21.5 points per game and had a -17 turnover ratio this year. However, with a couple of pieces in the draft and free agency, the defense could improve. Adding Brady would also help this unit. Having an efficient offense always helps a defense.
The Chargers need as many fans as they can get. Their home games don’t give them much of an advantage because most of the stadium is cheering for the opposing team. Brady being their QB would instantly sell tickets and generate fans.
In four out of his first eight games, Brissett had a QB rating of over 115. However, his production dropped a lot to close out the season. Questions are swirling about the future of the Colts at QB. If they decide to draft one in the first or second round, they would be able to sit him for his rookie year and learn under the greatest of all time. Most teams that are using a bridge QB are not Super Bowl contenders, but with Brady, they would be.
Much like the Chargers, they have a lot of firepower on offense. Hilton, when healthy, is a top 10 WR, Jack Doyle is a great TE, and Mack is a solid RB. The Colts also have one of the best offensive lines in the league, which would be huge for a 43-year-old QB.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston is not the Buccaneers’ future. He is the most inconsistent QB I have ever seen. He threw for over 5,000 yards and 30 TDs this season, which would be great for any QB. However, he also threw a jaw-dropping 30 INTs. Winston said he does not want to be tagged and wants over $30 million a year. Any team would be crazy to invest that much into a QB like Winston.
This puts the Bucs in the market for a QB. While many have not considered Brady coming to Tampa Bay, it makes sense when you break down their offense. Mike Evans had over 1,100 yards and 8 TDs in only 13 games. Chris Godwin had his breakout year going for 1,333 yards and 9 TDs while missing two games. Even Bershad Perriman looked like a number one WR when both Evans and Godwin were out. The Bucs also have two great TEs in OJ Howard and Cameron Brate. Ronald Jones showed potential at times this season too. Any QB would die for the weapons the Bucs have, and that is something that may draw Brady to Tampa Bay.
Byron Leftwich has also proved to be an excellent offensive coordinator. If the Bucs add Brady and fix their problems in the secondary and offensive line, this team could be a dark horse super bowl contender next season.
Las Vegas Raiders
For the first time, I am writing Las Vegas and not Oakland. This actually plays a big part in Brady coming to play for the Raiders. I mentioned that him going to the Chargers would help generate much-needed fans for them. The same thing can be said for the Raiders. When moving to a new city, people are not going to want to watch a team that goes 5-11 or 6-10.
Tom becoming a Raider would get people in Las Vegas excited. I believe Derek Carr is a good QB, but not the type that can carry a team to the Super Bowl. While Brady is not the same QB that could win with no talent, the Raiders could get just enough in the offseason to become contenders.
Reports have Chicago going with Trubisky as their QB for next season. Many Bears fans were hoping for a change at the position, but there is plenty of time for Chicago to change their minds.
The Bears could be a good option for Tom, as they were in the playoffs just last season. The defense is the strong point of this team and is capable of winning a Super Bowl. The biggest issue for them is QB. They have some weapons like Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen. They also have one of the best offensive minds as their head coach in Matt Nagy. With the addition of Brady, another weapon, and an improvement on the offensive line, the Bears could become contenders next year.
While some of these teams have much more a shot at landing Brady than others, no one really knows what is going to happen with him. At this point, I am not even sure Brady himself knows. This is going to be a long offseason for Patriots fans. If Brady does decide to stay in New England, they must get him weapons if they want any chance at reaching the Super Bowl again.