Tom Brady: New England Patriots quarterback, Super Bowl winner, future Hall of Famer, greatest of all time, resident pretty boy. The famed signal-caller is entering his age-43 season later this year, and has repeatedly claimed he aims to play until he’s 45. That tacks on another two seasons to what is already a legendary career. Those final two seasons are soon to be defined by a free agency decision for the ages. Tom Brady is about to enter the open market for the first time in his 21st season with the league.
So he should re-sign with New England, right? For Brady, there are two primary factors I believe to be at play. The first and most obvious is his chance to win a Super Bowl. No team whose quarterback isn’t relatively spoken for gives Brady even half as good of a chance to win as New England does. The presence of a coach, system and roster that he knows inside and out creates unparalleled levels of comfort and familiarity.
The second factor is his legacy. What does Tom Brady have left to prove? He’s already the greatest of all time, but playing until 45 suggests he wants to put an exclamation point behind that title. Does he think his best way to do that is a seventh Super Bowl with New England? Or does he want to prove he can still be the greatest regardless of the team, environment or system he resides in? Seven Super Bowls with one team is gaudy, but so is reviving a franchise such as the Raiders or Colts.
However, this article exists to shed some light on what New England’s world looks like, not Brady’s. At the end of the day, Brady is a person with human needs that no article or writer can ever fully capture. New England’s football team, however, is an organization with countless moving parts. Brady should not be one of them. His 2019 season is the first and most obvious reason for this. His completion percentage, yards per attempt and touchdown/interception ratio were all well below many of his career-long marks.
When a player does this at age 42, you can’t be confident it’ll get much better. Brady’s demise could not have come at a better time for the Patriots. Brady is hitting free agency for the first time in his career. Losing him costs the team nothing in terms of dead cap. Meanwhile, the quarterback market for this offseason is deep and potentially lucrative. The free agency and trade markets hold young, old, proven and unproven quarterbacks of all calibers.
The quarterback class in this year’s draft also has some intriguing options projected toward the back of the first round where New England drafts, like Utah State’s Jordan Love, Washington’s Jacob Eason or even Georgia’s Jake Fromm. My point is, New England’s options are limitless. They are the best-run organization in the league, and Belichick’s genius in evaluating talent should make them confident that they can assess and uncover the next face of the franchise.