The NFL playoffs are continuing without Tom Brady, and the beginning of free agency, which starts on March 18, is approaching. Here are 21 expert opinions on Brady’s uncertain future in New England and the NFL:
The Patriots need Tom Brady, and should act accordingly.
Willie McGinest: “I don’t think the hometown discount’s gonna happen anymore. When you look at all the players, the teams in the NFC, all those quarterbacks make more than Tom. There’s a lot of players that make more than Tom with less accomplishments. I think that plays a big factor.”
First off, McGinest doesn’t want anyone to read into Brady’s house going on the market, calling it “a family decision.” The former Patriots linebacker believes it’s up to the organization to pay Brady and surround him with the weapons he needs.
Peter King: “Look at what has to happen for him to stay in New England. The money has to be right, they’ve got to make some major expenditures on offense. This is the worst collection of offensive talent around him, probably in his career in New England.”
Rex Ryan: “They’d win three or four games without him. I got whipped by him several times. The one time I had a chance to coach against the Patriots without Tom Brady, we shut them out in Foxboro 19-0. That guy needs to go nowhere.”
The former Jets coach was the only vote of four on Monday’s episode of “Get Up” that predicted Brady stays in New England – Pat McAfee and Bart Scott sent him to the Chargers, and Dan Orlovsky thinks he’ll take his talents to Miami.
Greg Jennings: “When we’ve seen, over the course of NFL history, quarterbacks that have made statements like this, that have had unbelievable careers, they’ve always had a successor plan. There has always been a plan in place. When you look at their current roster and configuration, they don’t have that. When you look at where they always have to pick in the draft, they’re not guaranteed to get that. With that being said, Tom Brady is their only option at quarterback.”
The former NFL wide receiver compared Brady to Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers on Monday’s “First Things First.”
“I do believe Tom Brady will be back in a Patriots uniform next year. … When QBs have had unbelievable careers, the’ve always had a successor plan — Joe Montana, Steve Young, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots don’t have that.” — @GregJennings pic.twitter.com/R5fzYd3i32
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) January 6, 2020
Randy Moss: “The guys that they have there are not guys that he wants.”
Tony Gonzalez: “He needs help. The only way I would come back is if you can go out and get Gronk, you can go out and get me another good receiver, keep Edelman, and all that stuff. He wants that fresh start.”
The former tight end was excited about the possibility of Brady going to LA if it doesn’t work out with the Patriots.
.@TonyGonzalez88 names which team Tom Brady may end up with next year
“Could you imagine him coming to LA? Coming to play for the Chargers. They got receivers, they got tight ends. Coming to tinseltown. Kinda like LeBron James… That would be something I could see Tom doing.” pic.twitter.com/4HRuxlXDiF
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) January 6, 2020
And if he gets what he needs, he’ll remain a Patriot.
Colin Cowherd: “They didn’t miss defense, it was No. 1 in the NFL. Special teams weren’t a problem, that was great. What they didn’t have was weapons. It’s the best wide receiver draft class ever. There are all sorts of free-agent wide receivers out there.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 8, 2020
Yes, Colin Cowherd did say this week that he thinks Tom Brady should retire. But now he’s hopeful that the free-agent statuses of wide receivers A.J. Green and Robbie Anderson are enticing.
Tedy Bruschi: “To have him leave New England and go up and play somewhere else with new receivers, a new offensive line, new concepts, that’s something I don’t see happening.”
Jason Whitlock: “What Brady believes is, ‘you couldn’t have established this culture that we have without me.’ Brady probably does feel like ‘I’m still that guy, I’m still the cultural enforcer, and I can play if you give me the right tools.”
The “Speak for Yourself” co-host said Wednesday that it’s Tom Brady’s attitude that will determine where he lands, and he thinks that with the right response from management, it will be back in New England.
Jay Glazer: “In the past, he’s done hometown discounts. I don’t know if he’s going to do that this time. I don’t think he’ll do that this time. I think the Patriots can have the inside track here by taking care of Tom. Give him what he deserves. He’s still elite.”
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 8, 2020
Stephen A. Smith: “Tom Brady has been disrespected throughout this season. You’ve got all these things this 42-year-old man was working against. I understand what he was working against. My desire is to see him come back, whether it’s with New England or anybody else. Make him come back, but with requisite weapons to rely upon.”
Brady will explore free agency…
Carson Palmer: “He’s gonna go somewhere where he’s surrounded with guys that he doesn’t have to throw digs and come-backs and post routes. He can get the ball out quick. He needs talent around him at 42, going into 43.”
The 15-year NFL quarterback and 2002 Heisman Trophy winner said on “Good Morning Football” that he thinks Tom Brady will search free agency to find the right fit – which is a team that offers “explosiveness” and “a good offensive line.”
Pat McAfee: “I think Tom Brady’s gonna go shop a little bit. For the first time in 20 years, he’s going to get to feel that other people want him. Is the grass greener somewhere else? Definitely not.”
Adam Schefter: “If he does go and play for another team, it’s going to be one that came out of nowhere, that you didn’t even see coming.”
On Thursday’s “Get Up”, the ESPN insider compared the situation to Peyton Manning’s free agency search that ultimately landed him in Denver.
…and if he goes, the blame is on Belichick and Kraft.
Dan Orlovsky: “The Patriots and Bill Belichick failed Tom Brady with who they put around him. The question isn’t, for me, where he goes. The question for me is how does New England sell themselves to Tom Brady. What can they do between now and the middle of March to sell them as a team?”
Marcellus Wiley: [in response to Tom Brady’s Instagram post] “‘I still have more to prove’ means I’m gonna play, but thanking the fanbase means probably not here. Bill Belichick would not have put Tom Brady in this position if he was thinking about bringing him back. All this points to Tom Brady continuing his service elsewhere, but not as a Patriot.”
Shannon Sharpe: [in response to Robert Kraft’s statement] “What do you ‘hope and pray?’ You’re worth $6 million. You can say Tom Brady will be our quarterback. How did Tom Brady become a free agent? If someone wants you, you never get an opportunity to see that market.”
The former Broncos and Ravens tight end put it pretty bluntly when said “I do not believe Tom Brady will be the quarterback of the New England Patriots” on Monday’s episode of “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.”
Skip Bayless: “I believe that Tom Brady will and should play somewhere else next year. Bill Belichick has allowed these New England Patriots to become what I believe is an unfixable. Tom Brady belongs with the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s a very talented football team.”
He’ll be somewhere – not in retirement.
Max Kellerman: “He said he’s gonna play until he’s 45 because he wants to build a business empire. He’s selling it on the health benefits and longevity. Once he says he’s gonna play to 45, if he quits at 42, especially throwing a pick-6 as the last pass of his career, it’s not good for his career.”
On Wednesday’s “First Take”, Kellerman also said Brady wasn’t an elite quarterback anymore, but still NFL starter-caliber.
Nick Wright: “Tom Brady has nothing left to prove to anybody except the voices in his own head that have propelled him to be him.”
The “First Things First” host said Thursday that Brady’s legacy is already cemented, but he’s still not done.
Deion Sanders: “Tom Brady is not gonna retire unless he’s getting some type of ownership with the New England Patriots. I feel that’s the only way he’s gonna walk away and retire. You think he wants to end on a pick-6? You think he wants to end his heralded career, his Hall of Fame, his 100 greatest players of all time on a pick-6?”
The 14-year NFL cornerback said if Brady leaves, he should be a package deal with Julian Edelman, but thinks the quarterback will play another year in New England.