Tom Brady’s 20-year run with the New England Patriots has come to an end, following a message he posted on Instagram Tuesday morning.
It is unclear what team Brady will sign with for the 2020 season, but it won’t be New England. On Wednesday, he will hit the league’s open market but could reach an agreement with another team Tuesday, when players and teams can negotiate deals.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the six-time Super Bowl champion has not made a decision. ESPN’s Dianna Russini, posted on Twitter that sources from both the Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no idea what Brady is going to do. Both teams remain watching his every move, just like the rest of the public is.
But, Buccaneer’s general manager Jason Licht stated he has an interest in Brady and said that the two sides spoke Monday.
Brady leaves the Patriots as the most accomplished quarterback in the history of the game. He and Bill Belichick had one of the all-time great quarterback/coach tandems. And despite his final pass being a pick-six by former teammate Logan Ryan in the Patriots’ 20-13 playoff loss to the Titans, what he’s accomplished in New England cannot be ignored.
Three NFL Most Valuable Player awards (2007, 2010, 2017), tying him with Jim Brown, Brett Favre and Johnny Unitas for second-most all-time behind Peyton Manning. Fifteen Super Bowl records, four Super Bowl MVP awards, a record 13 conference title-game appearances and a record nine conference championships. He holds a record 17 division championships, has led the Patriots to at least 12 regular-season wins 13 times, the most all-time and became the first 42-year-old quarterback in history to start every game in a regular season.
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Replacing Brady isn’t easy, but the Patriots have a plan. Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round draft pick in 2019 who appeared in three games last season, is next in line.
Before his season-ending hip injury on Nov. 16 against Mississippi State, Tua Tagovailoa was a potential first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But because of the injury, teams will pass up the opportunity to draft him. It’s not shocking nor a bad idea. Whether Tagovailoa can play football at the level he once did is still up in the air. Only time will tell and there’s no reason to risk it for some teams.
But, Brady leaving sets up the opportunity for Tagovailoa to somehow end up in New England.
The Patriots will have to trade up and Belichick will have to work his magic, but it’s not impossible. New England has the No. 23 pick in the NFL Draft, if somehow they can slide into the top-ten, they would have a chance at drafting Tagovailoa.
Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a close relationship and it’s well known Belichick likes what he gets out of Alabama players.
Over three-years with the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa had a career quarterback rating of 93.4, the best in the history of the metric (which was instituted in 2004). He set school record’s for passing touchdowns (87) and 300-yard games (10). He finished with 7,442 passing yards (3rd All-Time in Alabama history), set single-season records for 3,966 passing yards (2018), passing touchdowns (43) and holds a single-game record with six passing touchdowns against Ole Miss (2018).
The Patriots like what they see in Stidham, but he is untested. Tagovailoa, too, is unproven. But if healthy, he has the potential to be a special player and could be the perfect high risk-high reward move for the Patriots.