Where will he go?
As the G.O.A.T., Tom Brady eyes greener pastures to graze in, sportsbooks are offering odds on the next team he will suit up for.
most likely to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+200)
According to DraftKings, he is most likely to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+200). The Las Vegas Raiders (+250), San Francisco 49ers (+350), New England Patriots (+750), and Miami Dolphins (+750) are also distinct possibilities.
Does Brady even want to return to the NFL next year? And if he does, where will he go? These are questions that need to be addressed in the fast-approaching offseason.
Motivation to leave
This year was not kind to Brady. He and his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen went through a public divorce, he was repeatedly targeted by former friend and teammate Antonio Brown, and for the first time in his career, he finished with a losing record.
Just two years ago, Brady and company routed the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in the Super Bowl, earning him his seventh Lombardi Trophy and the franchise’s first since 2003. This year’s Bucs team was almost unrecognizable compared to that team, however, as they struggled in all three phases of the game and barely snuck into the playoffs at 8-9.
While many predicted a metaphysical postseason turnaround that has become synonymous with Brady’s name, the Dallas Cowboys ensured that did not happen. They stomped the Bucs from the opening whistle until the final moments, winning 31-14 and sending Tampa crashing out of the playoffs.
portrayed a man who was unsure if he would be back next year
Brady’s verbal and nonverbal cues at the post-game interview portrayed a man who was unsure if he would be back next year.
“I just want to say thank you guys for everything this year,” said Brady. “I love this organization, it’s a great place to be; thank you everybody for welcoming me, all you regulars; I’m just very grateful for the respect, and hope I gave the same thing back to you.”
Both player and team are in tough positions. Brady is going to have to convince a team to take on the risk of employing a soon-to-be 46-year-old quarterback that just had the worst year of his career, and the Bucs are a league-worst $54.8m over the salary cap. That is before even considering Brady’s contract.
Odds predict the next team for Tom Brady
The Bucs have no immediate replacement available for Brady and do not have a high draft pick they can use to take a young quarterback. That being said, they have gotten worse each year following the Super Bowl-winning season and are hamstrung by the salary cap, which is why the odds could be misleading.
The Raiders make a lot of sense for a few reasons. They have talented skill position players in Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, and Darren Waller, and are moving on from incumbent quarterback Derek Carr. They also have Brady’s longtime offensive coordinator in New England, Josh McDaniels, as head coach.
But while Vegas has these advantages, it is also missing a strong offensive line and stout defense, both of which are vital components in Brady’s success.
Brady has been flirting with the idea of joining the NFC-favorite 49ers, his hometown team, for a few years, but they have shown little-to-no interest in bringing him in. The Niners also spent the third pick in the draft on a quarterback (Trey Lance) two years ago and have a rookie QB, Brock Purdy, that is balling out.
Brady spent the first 20 years of his career in New England
The Patriots need a quarterback, and there is an obvious level of familiarity there since Brady spent the first 20 years of his career in New England. The Dolphins wanted Brady last summer and even violated anti-tampering rules to (unsuccessfully) land him, but making another move could sever their relationship with young QB Tua Tagovalioa.
The next teams in line include the New York Giants (+900), New York Jets (+900), Tennessee Titans (+1500), Seattle Seahawks (+1800), and Washington Commanders (+2000). Each team has its selling point, but none seem of enough quality to win the Super Bowl, which is all that Brady is playing for.