5 things to know about Tom Brady’s free agency, according to NFL experts

"Organizations don't have to wonder if Brady has it. We know he does."

Tom Brady's free agency rumors are heating up.
Tom Brady's free agency rumors are heating up. –Bill Sikes/AP Photo

Tom Brady says he isn’t retiring, and with under a month to go until the 20-year Patriots quarterback becomes a free agent, NFL experts are speculating about where he might end up.

Here’s what five experts are saying about Tom Brady’s future:

He likely won’t hold a grand free agency tour, which works out for the Patriots.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran said Brady most likely won’t travel the country to meet teams that may offer him a contract in 2020 and beyond – rather, he’ll “try to set up meetings at one location instead of creating a circus.”

Curran also said that the Patriots will not be seriously watching what teams are offering their franchise quarterback. Instead, they’re focused on providing Brady with the weapons he has repeatedly asked for.

The Titans are emerging …

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“Tennessee has to be considered one of the bright spots when you consider what Tom Brady is looking for in free agency,” ESPN’s Jeff Darlington told Adam Schefter on his podcast.

“Whether it is the team itself and what they possess personnel-wise, whether it’s the ability to potentially collaborate with the head coach and have some say in game planning and personnel, I quite frankly think the Tennessee Titans make a lot of sense for Tom Brady.”

But Titans players might not be all-in on getting a new quarterback. Pro-Bowl running back Derrick Henry isn’t so sure why the Titans would want to give up on Ryan Tannehill, who had the best season of his career while leading the Titans to the AFC Championship with an NFL-best passer rating of 117.5.

“[Brady] still can play,” Henry said, on Will Compton and Taylor Lewan’s “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast. “Obviously, age doesn’t matter for him, he’s still playing at a high level, but my question would be: Why ain’t Ryan good enough, you know?

“Speaking for everyone on the offense, we fed off of him . . . Ryan Tannehill is our quarterback and went to the AFC Championship, why would we not want Ryan back?”

… but other teams are still front-runners.

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Larry Fitzgerald Sr. reported that the Raiders are prepared to offer Brady $60 million over two years, and Schefter said Darlington ranked the Raiders second in the race to land Brady.

Mike Florio dissected Fitzgerald’s report in a column for ProFootballTalk.

“The number isn’t surprising, not with the market for quarterbacks at $35 million per year. For Brady, the bigger question will be fit, with team, coaching staff, city, and offense. It’s a new football city in a new football stadium and, for Brady, a new offense with a new coach who has a reputation for being more than a little aggressive with his quarterbacks.”

Former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” that he thinks Tom Brady should go take over for Jimmy Garoppolo and join his hometown, Super Bowl runner-up 49ers.

“It would be something where we would find out if the 49ers are really in love with Jimmy Garoppolo and I think Tom Brady has earned the right to select a turn-key organization that is one quarterback away from a Super Bowl. Who better than the 49ers? He’s a hometown kid, he grew up idolizing Joe Montana.”

On “Undisputed,” Skip Bayless agreed that Garoppolo should go to make way for the hometown kid – and if he did, the 49ers would have a shot at walking away as Super Bowl champions.

“I would cut [Garoppolo], and I would sign Tom Brady for two more years because Tom Brady would live and love to go home,” Bayless said. “He would live for it because he started as a 49er fan in San Mateo, Calif. … He was a huge Joe Montana fan, so he could actually pull, in this scenario, a reverse Montana. Montana had to go finish in Kansas City and Tom could go finish at home.

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With Philip Rivers also set to enter free agency, experts are suggesting that Brady fill the empty spot under center for the Chargers.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport expects the Chargers to make the push.

“He would want a team that’s championship-ready, with a lot of talent, and of course L.A. is a place his family has lived,” Rapoport said. “There’s a lot that makes sense here, and you cannot talk about this Chargers situation without bringing up Brady’s role in it.”

Brady isn’t the top quarterback available in 2020.

NFL analyst Derek Carr created a list of the top 10 quarterbacks that will be available heading into the 2020 season – including free agents and draft prospects.

Brady was ranked fifth.

“Brady is coming off one his worst statistical seasons in some time, but it’s hard to knock the guy when you look at what he was working with,” Carr wrote. “Turning 43 years old in August, Brady still has all the intangibles, from his leadership skills to his knowledge of defenses. I would bet that there isn’t a defense Brady hasn’t seen after two decades of NFL quarterbacking.

“As far as his physical abilities are concerned, he has limited mobility but is still a great pocket passer and gets the ball out extremely fast. With a solid supporting cast around him, Brady could make most teams automatic contenders. Organizations don’t have to wonder if Brady has it. We know he does.”

The Patriots are in trouble if they don’t sign him early.

Florio and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, appearing together on NBC Sports, offered up a timeline of when they believe Brady might make his decision. If Brady doesn’t reach an agreement with the Patriots by March 16, when he can begin communicating with other teams (legally, at least), then there won’t be one coming.

“Is he going to go back to the Patriots? That’s phase one,” Florio said. “I think as a practical matter, that’s the ship that has to sail before March the 16th. You either sign with the Patriots or you embark on the Reggie White, Peyton Manning free agency tour.

“I don’t think the Patriots are still in play once the boat is out of the harbor.”

“I don’t think that in this particular case anything is set in stone,” King said. “But I do have a pretty good feeling that we’ll probably get to March 12th or 13th and know if there’s any chance he’s going to go back to the Patriots.”

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