Although 42-year-old Tom Brady is at an age where most NFL players have long retired, the New England Patriots quarterback is still putting up solid numbers and has led his team to a 12-3 record heading into the final week of the 2019 regular season. But even with Brady’s continued strong performance in mind, various rumors have swirled regarding his future in professional football. The latest report of this kind suggests that the Patriots might benefit by bringing back a familiar face as their longtime star quarterback’s heir apparent — erstwhile Indianapolis Colts starter Jacoby Brissett.
As explained by Sports Illustrated, the Patriots had two young and promising quarterbacks sitting behind Brady in the 2017 season, though both of these players were ultimately traded, given how New England still didn’t need an insurance policy in case Brady would retire or sign with a rival team. One of those QBs, Jimmy Garoppolo, went on to enjoy success leading the San Francisco 49ers, who currently share a 12-3 record with New England. Brissett, on the other hand, was moved to the Colts, playing a second-string role before taking over as their starting quarterback when Andrew Luck announced his retirement this summer.
As the Colts (7-8) will be missing the playoffs this season after Brissett failed to sustain his hot start in the 2019 campaign, Sports Illustrated noted that his future in Indianapolis no longer seems certain. The publication cited its own top league insider, Albert Breer, as well as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, both of whom previously reported that the Colts are expected to prioritize the quarterback position in the 2020 draft. As such, this might point to Brissett’s eventual demotion — and a possible trade back to New England as a candidate to replace Brady behind center.
The Colts’ Jacoby Brissett and Jack Doyle braving the elements to work outside the day after Christmas. (Kidding. It’s 64 degrees in Indy) pic.twitter.com/1JdEmWLK8y— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 26, 2019
In this year’s draft, the Patriots selected Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round, but, as shown on his Pro-Football-Reference page, he has seen limited action in three games off the bench thus far. Given Stidham’s lack of NFL experience, SI opined that trading for Brissett would be a safer way to go, as the 27-year-old signal-caller is familiar with New England coach Bill Belichick’s system and has “shown an ability to play at a high level” in the pros.
No specific trade scenarios were proposed in the Sports Illustrated piece, though the outlet speculated that the Patriots might have to surrender a second-round pick “at the very least” — and possibly a later-round selection as well — if they want to acquire Brissett from Indianapolis.
“The asking price may seem a bit high for a team that may not even utilize Brissett,” SI concluded. “But when preparing for the post-Tom Brady era, bringing in a quarterback with a history like Brissett’s would be a smart decision.”
Brissett is far from the only name that has been suggested as a potential successor to Brady in New England. Last month, Alabama Crimson Tide star Tua Tagovailoa — whose draft stock may have been compromised by a serious hip injury — was projected by CBS Sports to drop to the bottom of the first round of next year’s draft, thus giving the Patriots a shot at selecting him as their quarterback of the future.