Tom Brady being traded anywhere seems extremely unlikely, but one writer thinks the Lions “must” acquire the future Hall of Famer.
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. With each season that goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to argue against that point.
While there are occasional signs of aging, it doesn’t look like he’s all that close to being done. He does, of course, have the New England Patriots back in the Super Bowl yet again.
Even now, it is hard to argue that Brady isn’t one of the two or three best quarterbacks in the game right now, age aside. This season he threw for 4,577 yards, completed 66.3-percent of his throws, and tossed 32 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
He very well may take home another MVP award for his efforts, at 40 years old. He last won it in 2010.
Will he finish his career in New England though? Every indication so far is that he will.
However, there may be some doubts, after an ESPN expose from earlier this month depicted a potential rift between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft. And other greats have finished their careers away from the teams with which they became legends.
Joe Montana played two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs after winning four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers. Brett Favre left Green Bay for the Jets and Vikings, and even Johnny Unitas wound up leaving the Colts and finished his career with the San Diego Chargers. There is precedent for similar moves.
Still, I wouldn’t bet on Brady going anywhere. And yet, others could see Belichick trading Brady before his utility is up, like he’s done with so many other stars. In fact, Detroit Free Press reporter Carlos Monarrez argues that the Detroit Lions, which will reportedly soon name Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia head coach, must acquire Brady. In return, he sees the Lions dealing their own franchise quarterback Matt Stafford, and others.
But why would this happen? Why should either side want this to happen?
Simple. The Patriots and the Lions both win. Let’s start from the side that’s holding all the cards: Belichick and the Patriots. Brady turns 41 in August and he has two more years on his contract. There are questions about whether he’s considering retirement, which he’s only encouraging with his “Tom vs. Time” Facebook series, and the Patriots seem to have no succession plan at quarterback.
Belichick already knows the ending of “Tom vs. Time” — Time will win, eventually. If we know anything about Belichick, it’s that he always has a plan. He wouldn’t have traded Jimmy Garropolo and Jacoby Brissett this season if he had any doubt about Brady returning and a strong idea about his next move at QB.
Belichick’s plan is almost certainly not as simple as drafting a quarterback and hoping he develops. He knows he has a willing and familiar trade partner in Quinn, whom he fleeced with the Kyle Van Noy deal. Getting Stafford would give Belichick the best combination of a quarterback who is flirting with elite status, has experience but is still on the young side — he turns 30 next week — and is locked up for the next five years.
And why is this move such a necessity to Detroit (beyond the obvious reasons)? Because it is the only way for Patricia to truly establish “The Patriot Way” with the Lions, according to Monarrez.
Because Quinn and Patricia are trying to recreate the Patriot Way. But recreating the Patriot Way without one of the two most important Patriots is folly. It’s the reason it hasn’t worked anywhere else. Stafford is a good quarterback, but he’s no Brady. And don’t forget Stafford not only hasn’t won anything, but he’s gotten one coaching staff, two head coaches, a general manager and a team president fired.
If Quinn and Patricia truly want to be great, they have to be willing to risk everything for a Super Bowl victory. And this is the kind of deal that could do it.
In a way, this would be the ultimate Belichickian move. And if the controversial ESPN article is right, maybe there is a world in which this could happen.
It still seems pretty far-fetched that Belichick would do something like this, after dealing Jimmy Garoppolo for what is looking like mediocre value. While Stafford has ability, there is no telling what the Patriots think of him, and “flirting with elite” seems very kind, especially if he is to swap places with Brady.
Again, maybe something like this goes down, and Brady’s career finishes in a similar vein to Montana and some of the other greats. It’s just admittedly very difficult imagining him running out the clock in Detroit, and there are probably other avenues for Patricia and his new team to achieve success without a deeply unlikely, Hail Mary trade like this.