Tom Brady Entering Uncharted Waters
The NFL season never really sleeps. The Scouting Combine kicks off February 24th and runs to March 2nd, which quickly leads into the deadline for NFL clubs to designate Franchise or Transition players on March 10th. After that, we dive right into NFL Free agency on March 18th. This year’s NFL Freee agency list has more than a few big-name veteran Quarterbacks on it, including Tom Brady, a player rumored to be leaving New England. Usually, these sorts of rumors come and go, but the sports betting community seems to be pushing this story into the spotlight. The following is my take on this rumor.
Tom Brady to the Raiders? – Sports reporter Larry Fitzgerald Sr. has been “told” the Raiders are prepared to offer impending free agent Tom Brady a two-year, $60 million contract. The Raiders are looking to make a splash this offseason as they move to Las Vegas. The team has three first-round picks and currently $51 million available in cap space for this season. According to SBD’s early Super Bowl odds, the Raiders are between +3000 and +3300 to win Super Bowl LV, which is in line with the Houston Texans, a team that made the divisional playoffs last year. The Raiders finished last season with a -106 point differential (sixth-worst) and five losses in their final six games. Their current odds are inflated, in part, by public bettors hammering a team that’s been linked to Tom Brady.
My Take: After twenty years as a Patriot, the idea of Tom Brady playing for another team just seems wrong. Yet, the Patriots have always been ahead of the game when it comes to personal, and aren’t afraid to trade someone away or let them walk in free agency if they believe the time has come for a change. Some Patriot fans would even argue the team made the right move by trading away Jimmy Garoppolo while his stock was high. While I wouldn’t go that far, there has always been to be a plan with this organization, something I can respect.
If I had to guess, I would bet the Patriots lock up Tom Brady for one more season with an option for a second. They would then invest their first-round pick this year to select the future quarterback for the team and groom him under the greatest QB to ever play the game. However, the Patriots don’t have a second-round pick in this year’s NFL draft after they traded it to the Falcons for Mohamed Sanu. So to invest their first-round pick into a QB really doesn’t leave them much in terms of adding additional talent, something that was clear the offense needed last season.
Drafting a QB in the first round has been a recipe for success with several franchises. Allowing a young QB to sit on your salary cap for cheap allows you to spend on repairing other elements of your roster. Patrick Mahomes only made $735K last season and won Super Bowl 54. Carson Wentz only made $1.6M the year he was inline to be an MVP candidate, and the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl 52. Dak Prescott’s bargain contract has helped keep the nightmare cap situation under control for the Cowboys, while the Baltimore Ravens get to enjoy Lamar Jackson’s rookie deal for another few seasons.
The Patriots hold the 23rd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. In a draft class that does look to have a handful of future star Quarterbacks, the team could mortgage the farm to move up and get one while using the $30+ million they would have spent on Tom Brady to add another wide receiver or something else lacking. If there were ever a time to make a change, you would think this would be it. Tom Brady turns 43 in August. The team ranks 19th in cap space, and are missing their 2nd and 5th round pick in this year’s draft. Hanging on to an old, expensive quarterback doesn’t seem like a smart move.
When I first heard the rumor about Tom Brady playing for the Raiders or any team for that matter, I laughed. Yet the more I dive into their draft situation and knowing Bill Belichick is rarely shy about making aggressive changes, the idea of Brady leaving is starting to become a reality.