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Tracking the latest free agency rumors for Tom Brady

Tom Brady has a chance to enter free agency for the first time in his career. We break down all the news and rumors as free agency approaches, and consider where the Patriots quarterback might land.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady watches the end of a game against the Tennessee Titans from the bench at Gillette Stadium. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We could be looking at one of the biggest free agency periods in recent memory if some of the notable names actually hit the open market. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Derrick Henry are just a few of the big names set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year opens on March 18th. One or more stands a good chance of signing a contract with their current team before then, but there is a chance one or more is taking calls when the tampering period opens on March 16th.

2019 in review

Tom Brady had arguably the worst full season of his pro career in 2019. The Patriots won the AFC East once again and were in the hunt for the Super Bowl, but it was thanks primarily to a strong defense. Brady and the offense struggled to get much of anything going with consistency, finishing 14th in passing offense efficiency and 16th in rushing offense efficiency.

Some would argue losing Rob Gronkowski and not sufficiently replenishing the receiver corps was a big part of the problem. There’s an argument to be made for that, but at 42 years of age, it’s reasonable to consider Brady’s role in the offensive decline. He finished the season completing 60.8 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards, with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 6.6 yards per attempt was his lowest total since averaging 6.3 yards per attempt in 2002.

Given the dearth of quality quarterbacks in the NFL and Brady’s own interest in continuing his career, there is plenty of value in signing him. He can still make plenty of plays, and if you’re a believer in intangibles, there are few quarterbacks or even just professional athletes that offer up the leadership and other intangibles Brady brings to the table. Even at 42 (turning 43 during training camp), Brady will have a sizable market for his services.

Possible destinations

The Patriots are the favorites to re-sign Brady. Aging stars find new teams all the time, but with Bill Belichick sticking around, the Patriots make a ton of sense. They still have a supremely talented roster, and with no answer at the QB position if Brady leaves, they don’t exactly have much incentive to move on. They might find a QB of the future in the draft, but it’s doubtful they want to find another option in 2020.

Odds have since come down at DraftKings Sportsbook, but heading into the Super Bowl, the Chargers, Titans, and Raiders were the next three favorites behind the Patriots. The Chargers are moving on from Philip Rivers, but even if they drafted a QB of the future with the sixth overall pick, would they bring in Brady as another veteran starter or find someone else as a bridge option?

The Titans have a decision to make with Ryan Tannehill following an unexpectedly impressive half season after replacing Marcus Mariota as the starting quarterback. The Titans have to figure out if they want to use their franchise tag on Tannehill or potentially Derrick Henry. A Tannehill tag seems likely.

The Raiders improved this past season, but Derek Carr remains a huge question mark as the team moves to Las Vegas. They would want to open their new home with a bang, and it’s hard to get excited about Carr at this point. He’s not a bad quarterback, but it’s hard to tell if he’s got a shot at being a consistently good quarterback. And Brady to Las Vegas would not be entirely shocking.

Do the Patriots want to keep him?

One would think so, but there has not been much chatter about contract negotiations. The NFL Combine is approaching, and we can expect to hear more rumors as general managers and personnel folks descend on Indianapolis. In the meantime, it would seem logical they would be interested in another season of Tom Brady, but radio silence means we’re left guessing.

Fantasy implications

Brady remains a solid fantasy quarterback, although not quite at the top of the market. He ranked 12th in fantasy points this past season, which was actually an improvement on his 14th ranking in 2018. Over the past five seasons, he’s been up and down as a fantasy QB, rankings 2nd in 2015 and 3rd in 2017, but 15th in 2016, 14th in 2018, and 12th in 2019. He’s a guy worth regularly starting, but he’s no longer the must start he was earlier in this career.

The Patriots did not do a great job adding more pass catchers last year, so his 2020 value remains a bit in question. If he remains at his current level of play, you’re looking at a quarterback with a very stable floor, but a ceiling that will depend on the weapons around him. Of course, turning 43 in August means the floor could drop out sooner rather than later for him regardless of the offensive situation he finds himself in when the 2020 season gets started.

Rumored interest

Las Vegas Raiders

On Super Bowl Sunday, Adam Schefter reported the Raiders are prepared to make a run at Brady if he does not re-sign with the Patriots. Two weeks later, NFL reporter Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (father of the Cardinals receiver) reported the Raiders are prepared to offer Brady a two-year, $60 million contract.

NFL Network reporter Michael Giardi is reporting execs, coaches, and scouts at the Combine see the Giants, Titans, and Raiders as possible suitors for Tom Brady. He also reported the initial reaction is that there is no way Brady leaves New England.

New York Giants

NFL Network reporter Michael Giardi is reporting execs, coaches, and scouts at the Combine see the Giants, Titans, and Raiders as possible suitors for Tom Brady. He also reported the initial reaction is that there is no way Brady leaves New England.

Tennessee Titans

NFL Network reporter Michael Giardi is reporting execs, coaches, and scouts at the Combine see the Giants, Titans, and Raiders as possible suitors for Tom Brady. He also reported the initial reaction is that there is no way Brady leaves New England.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs plan on going all in on signing Tom Brady this off-season according to Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.