Tom Brady is believed to be down to two teams in free agency, though other NFL franchises could be "lurking" for the six-time Super Bowl champion.
NBC insider Chris Simms reported on Sunday that the San Francisco 49ers, Brady's No. 1 choice, had told him no. They are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. This leaves just the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as legitimate options for Brady.
"I think it is down to this, from everything I’ve heard, it’s down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. I don’t think the Patriots are going to be willing to give Brady $30 million a year. As we know, Bill Belichick drives a hard bargain, he treats it like a business no matter who it is, even if it’s the goat," Simms said.
"So, between Tampa Bay - who I would bet would be willing to spend bigger money on Tom Brady and maybe give him $30 million per yer, as opposed to New England who is probably going to offer him something in the $20 million range because we can’t forget that Brady is going to cost them $13 million against the cap no matter whether he’s on the team or not so that’s why they want to find a manageable number."
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter then reported Sunday night that Brady and the Patriots are "not close" on a deal. Other teams could be laying in the weeds, waiting for a chance.
What teams could be “laying in wait” as Schefter mentioned?
ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio named five:
The only other teams at this point that potentially would be lurking for Brady are the Dolphins, the Colts, the Chargers, the Cowboys (in the highly unlikely event that they become exasperated with Dak Prescott‘s demands), and the Panthers (if they move on from Cam Newton).
Of those five, the Colts and the Chargers seem like the most-realistic options. Brady going to Carolina, Miami or Dallas would be truly shocking.
NFL free agency is set to officially begin on Wednesday. However, the legal tampering period has begun, so Brady could have a deal worked out before that.