Most people have heard of the “24-Hour Rule” when assessing a situation, but for those of you who haven’t, what it means is taking a day for something to marinate before giving a reaction to it, in order to let your emotions simmer.
Well it’s been over a day, so here it goes: yesterday, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote a piece detailing several potential landing spots for quarterback Tom Brady should he continue playing after this season. They were:
- The San Francisco 49ers – as Brady is from the Bay Area and would be able to return home.
- The Las Vegas Raiders – which would set up a reunion with his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
- The Tennessee Titans – setting up a reunion with his former teammate and now Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
- The New England Patriots.
We obviously only care about the Patriots here, so let’s dive into it. Here’s what Howe said about a potential Brady return to Foxboro:
And finally – maybe hold onto your phone with two hands for this one – don’t ever write off the Patriots.
Brady and Bill Belichick still have an abundance of respect for one another. They’ve made points to say it publicly on multiple occasions since the QB departed for Tampa. They also spent 23 minutes together in the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium following Brady’s return in 2021 – an appointment they set up prior to the game.
The Patriots are slated to have more than $50 million in cap space in 2023, so they can again address their flaws, this time on the heels of a couple impressive draft classes.
The issues? Not the egos. Not the pride.
For Brady, he’d have to know the offense is in capable hands. There have been criticisms of Matt Patricia’s first season as a play caller – plenty warranted, others exaggerated – and Brady benefited by an abundance of stability with the offensive coordinator in New England.
Though this reads as mere speculation, Jeff did work in New England for some time covering the Patriots, so there is undoubtedly some validity to this reporting.
The idea that there is no ego or pride standing in the way between the two is a newfound phenomenon, as there was clearly some spite between the two early on in the rift. However, since that locker room meeting between the two last October, there has been seemingly no ill will from either side.
The elephant in the room now is quarterback Mac Jones. Jones has now been New England’s starting quarterback for two straight seasons outside of injury, and to take that away from him for just one season of Brady would certainly be a gut-punch to the young and budding player. It could mean either losing him – or Jones truly taking one for the team, sitting out as a backup option, and learning from the best quarterback of all time.
If Jones would be willing, this should obviously be green-lit. Bringing Brady back here in a “Last Dance” type of scenario would be the greatest football season ever – regardless of how it ended. However it doesn’t seem likely that Jones would agree to these terms, nor would I blame him for not doing so.
Ultimately, the scenario is not worth losing a potential franchise quarterback over for one year of a “what if”.
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