Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Cut to the chase, Finn. No hemming, no hawing. Will Tom Brady be back with the Patriots in 2020, or won’t he? – Michael G.
I mean, this has to be the ultimate Sports Q question, right? Will the greatest player in the history of the NFL return to the league’s greatest dynasty? Or does a seismic change happen after he becomes a free agent March 18? Boston sports questions don’t get any bigger than this.
It’s hard to resist spelling out all of the variables that come into play here, most notably whether Bill Belichick even wants him back. But since you politely told me to get to the point, here you go: I think he’s back.
I’m going to get more into this in a column later in the week, but I just can’t see him taking the step of playing somewhere else, at age 44, most likely with an unfamiliar or new system and perhaps a different offensive coordinator.
There are teams that will pay him – the Chargers almost have to make a big offer, and I’d never rule out Jerry Jones in Dallas – but there’s not an ideal situation like the one Peyton Manning had at age 36 in 2012 when he signed with the Broncos, a team with a loaded defense, plenty of offensive weapons, and in a cool football city.
Brady as a Panther? A Brown? A Las Vegas Raider? C’mon.
There’s going to be some melodrama before any return happens. Belichick wisely does not like to pay for past performance, and I believe he noticed subtle slippage in Brady’s play long before we did.
But the only question that Jarett Stidham is an answer to is this: Who should be the Patriots’ backup quarterback next year? And the free-agent market doesn’t offer an obvious solution unless you’re some kind of weird, misguided Philip Rivers superfan.
I think Robert Kraft ends up brokering something between Brady and Belichick that unites them for one more year. The Patriots, with some talent upgrades on offense, still have a very good team. There’s no better situation for either of them. A pick-six will not be his final scene.
What does everyone else think? Will Tom Brady return to the Patriots next season? I’ll hear you in the comments.