The Tom Brady race is starting to get a lot less crowded, a new report claims.
After reports earlier this offseason that as many as a dozen teams were interested in signing the future Hall of Famer, it appears that the race is now down to just two. Chris Simms told NBC Sports on Sunday that the San Francisco 49ers had dropped out of the running to sign Brady, leaving just the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers still seeking his services.
Simms reported that the 49ers were planning to stand pat with Jimmy Garoppolo, and noted that the Tennessee Titans were also pulling out. Within hours of Simms’ report, the Titans announced that they had reached a contract agreement with Ryan Tannehill after he led the team to the playoffs and a wild card round upset of the Patriots.
The Buccaneers, who were a late entry into the race for Brady, reportedly plan to be aggressive in their push for him. As The Inquisitr reported, the Buccaneers were ready to move on from former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston and trying to match what the Patriots could offer to Brady. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Tampa was willing to offer Brady a wide range of control over the team, including strong input on roster decisions on game plans. Brady has been given this control in New England, a unique situation among quarterbacks in the league.
Simms said he believes the Patriots are still the odds-on favorite to re-sign Brady, especially with the field thinning for his services.
Brady is testing the free-agent market for the first time in his career, and there had been a number of signs over the course of the season that he may be prepared to leave New England. That included both Brady and his personal trainer putting their Boston-area homes up for sale.
The final decision on whether he stays in New England or ends his career with another team will likely come down to money. WEEI reported that this week the Patriots had a final offer for Brady that seemed underwhelming, offering him under the $23 million he made in 2019 due to the team’s tight salary cap situation. Brady had reportedly been seeking $30 million or more, which would put him among the top tier of quarterbacks in the league after years of taking smaller contracts in order to allow the team to spend more in free agency and build perennial Super Bowl contenders.