Just when you thought free agency couldn’t get any crazier after the trading of Deondre Hopkins, Tom Brady said “watch this”. Brady officially announced that he would not return to the New England Patriots. He has played in 20 seasons, won six super bowls, four super bowl MVP awards, and three league MVP awards. He achieved all of these feats with the Patriots. Believing that Brady was going to leave the only team he’s played for was almost comical. He was apart of the most successful organizations over the last decade, had arguably the best coach ever, and the best defense in the league last year. Now that he’s no longer a Patriot, where will he go?
Several teams were rumored to be pursuing Brady in free agency over the past couple of weeks. These teams included the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and the San Francisco 49ers. Some of these teams took themselves out of the hunt. The 49ers came out and said they were not going after Brady. The Raiders just acquired Marcus Mariota from the Titans. The Titans were the heavy favorites to land Brady but instead they shocked some by signing Ryan Tannehill to an extension. The start of free agency has left two teams as heavy favorites for Brady, the Chargers and Buccaneers. Who would be a better fit for the 42 year old quarterback?
Brady’s plan isn’t to leave the best team in the NFL for the last ten years to end his career by losing with another team. He is looking to go into a situation that is set up to win and compete for a championship. Both front runners, the Chargers and Buccaneers, fit the description. Both teams are rumored to have already offered him at least 30 million dollars per year, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport. I believe the best fit for Brady is the Chargers. The Chargers and Buccaneers both have amazing offensive pieces. They have weapons that Brady lacked last year. Although the Buccaneers have the better receiving core, the Chargers defense is better. The Chargers have a defensive that have the potential to be a top ten defense, even a top five defense. They have two premiere pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They also have a top playmaking safety in Derwin James, when he’s fully healthy. Even though the Buccaneers had the best rush defense in the league last year, their defense was 29th in points allowed and 27th in passing yards. The Chargers defense were 14th in points allowed, 6th in yards allowed, 5th in passing yards allowed, and 18th in rushing yards allowed. The Chargers were better all-around than the Buccaneers.
I also believe the Bruce Arians offense in Tampa does not fit Brady’s play style. Arians asks the quarterback to stay in the pocket and sometimes take hits, in order for his plays to develop. Brady has played in an offense that got the ball out quickly which helped Brady avoid contact. This is not me saying that Brady can not win in Tampa. I just believe the Chargers are a better team and better suited for a championship run. The Chargers also have the sure handed Keenan Allen, along the explosive and athletic Mike Williams. Brady will also inherit Austin Ekeler, who Brady can dump it off too when pressure comes like he did with James White. Ekeler is also a dual threat due to his effectiveness on the ground as well.
I do have a dark horse pick for Brady’s landing spot. The Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have come out hot in free agency by stacking up on the defensive side. They signed CB Byron Jones and LB Kyle Van Noy. They also still have Xavien Howard who is one of the elite cornerbacks in the league. The Dolphins also showed life on the offensive side of the field as well. Devante Parker was able to stay healthy and show his true potential. Parker broke out this season and even had Mike Gesicki join him. The Dolphins ended the season by winning their last two games. One of those games being in Gillette Stadium, costing the Patriots the number two seed and a bye week. Brian Flores has proven he is not here to tank. He wants to win. The Dolphins still have that draft pick as well, with the potential of it being Tua Tagovailoa. They can chose to have Brady mentor him for a couple of years while winning at a high rate. Something worth noting as well, Antonio Brown is still out there and has voiced that he wants to be with Brady. Brown lives in Florida as well. If Brady signs with Miami he could bring a star studded wide receiver with him. Parker and Brown could be a tough duo to stop. Dolphins can potentially be the third man in the race.