Despite several impressive performances with Ryan Tannehill replacing Marcus Mariota behind center midway through the 2019 season, the Tennessee Titans will not be headed to Super Bowl LIV, following their 35-24 AFC championship loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. However, as recently suggested, they also happen to be among the potential destinations for Tom Brady, as the NFL's only six-time Super Bowl-winning player prepares to enter free agency after spending his entire 20-year career with the New England Patriots.
As quoted by NESN, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith explained on Monday's edition of First Take that the Titans — and not the Los Angeles Chargers, as colleague Max Kellerman suggested on the show — might be the best fit for Brady if he chooses to leave the Patriots in the 2020 offseason. With both Tannehill and Mariota also eligible for free agency in March, Smith opined that Tennessee should save its available salary-cap space for its other key players. He opined that the team should instead sign Brady as a short-term investment who could get the most out of stars, primarily rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown and 2019 NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry."We also gotta take into account what Tom Brady has endured in terms of working for [Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick, and no matter what he has accomplished and no matter what he has done, Belichick is known for being incredibly pragmatic in his approach towards things," Smith was quoted as saying. "He never really took care of Tom Brady, wasn't trying to, etc."
According to Smith, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel — a former Patriots linebacker who once was teammates with Brady — may be able to appreciate the 42-year-old quarterback's greatness more than Belichick ever did. He suggested that joining the Titans would make for a perfect "swan song" for Brady, as doing so would allow him to play for a "friend" like Vrabel who also happens to be very familiar with what he can do on the field.
In addition, the longtime ESPN personality speculated that Brady might have been able to lead the Titans past the Chiefs to earn a Super Bowl berth had it been him and not Tannehill quarterbacking the team last Sunday.
Analyzing Smith's comments, NESN wrote that Brady's "regression" in the 2019 season could make Tannehill the better investment for the Titans in the coming offseason. However, the outlet added that the longtime Patriots signal-caller's performance suffered due to a number of reasons, including a "shoddy" offensive line, inconsistent play at running back, and an overall lack of options on offense.
"The Titans might be able to supply Brady with a better supporting cast and, in effect, a better shot at winning a seventh Lombardi Trophy," NESN added.
As Brady was previously quoted as saying that he's "open-minded" regarding his plans in free agency, the Titans and the Chargers are just two of the teams that could potentially lure him away from New England. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Cleveland Browns — whose second-year quarterback, Baker Mayfield, had a rough 2019 campaign — were among the more "sensible" options for the six-time Super Bowl winner.