The drama surrounding where future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady will play in 2020 is set to continue at least through March 18, when the official NFL free agency period begins. Though the New England Patriots have said they hope to bring Brady back to the team that he has led to six Super Bowl championships, a new report from an ESPN insider warns Patriots fans that they may have already seen the last of their superstar signal-caller in Foxborough.
“People can’t wrap their head around the idea of him leaving,” ESPN’s Jeff Darlington told Boston sports talk radio station WEEI on Thursday. “It’s time to wrap our heads around the idea of Tom Brady leaving New England because it is a very real, very real possibility.”
Darlington went on to say that it was “more likely than not” that Brady will depart the team that drafted him 199th overall in 2000, only to see him take over the starting quarterback’s job in the 2001 season, and bring the Patriots the first Super Bowl championship in what was then their 51-year history.
Brady’s foray into unrestricted free agency, if he does indeed take that route, will be the first of his 20-year career, which has included a total of nine Super Bowl appearances with a record six titles.
With Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill also an unrestricted free agent, Darlington told ESPN reporter Adam Schefter this week that Nashville would “make a lot of sense” as a destination for Brady, according to The Spun. In fact, Darlington listed Tennessee as one of two front-runners to acquire Brady’s services, along with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Brady sparked the rumors that he may consider Las Vegas as his free agency landing spot when, in January, he was seen at a UFC event in the city chatting openly with Raiders owner Mark Davis.
The Titans, however, are coached by Mike Vrabel, a former Patriots defensive lineman and teammate of Brady’s. It was also the Titans who defeated Brady and New England in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs this season, sending the then-defending Super Bowl champions to their earliest playoff exit since the 2010 season, when they lost to the New York Jets in the AFC Divisional Round.
Tannehill, who took the Titans to only their third AFC Conference Championship game since moving to Nashville from Houston in 1999, played on a one-year contract this season. Unless the team chooses to attach the franchise tag to him, he will enter free agency on March 18, as well.