On a recent appearance on HBO’s The Shop, Tom Brady called out an unnamed team that did not pursue him in free agency back in 2020 because they were committed to their quarterback at the time.
“One of the teams, they weren’t interested at the very end. I was thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that motherf–ker?’” Brady said.
That’s a pretty juicy quote, and many people had one team in particular in mind: the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners reportedly considered acquiring Brady but ultimately stuck with Jimmy Garoppolo, his former backup in New England.
While San Francisco is the most logical explanation, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thought about what other teams and quarterbacks could fit the bill. He came up with four: the Titans (Ryan Tannehill), the Bears (Mitchell Trubisky), the Broncos (Drew Lock) and the Raiders (Derek Carr).
Tannehill makes little sense. He was the comeback player of the year in 2019, and he beat Brady in his last game ever with the Patriots. Trubisky makes little sense, because there was no reporting linking Brady to the Bears. Ditto for the Broncos, given Brady’s horrible history playing in Denver. Carr makes a little more sense, if Brady was truly interested in the Raiders.
So it seems like Florio did all that to ultimately come back to the same likely conclusion, which is that Brady was probably referring to the Niners and Jimmy G. That certainly is the most sensible explanation, especially considering we know Brady and Garoppolo are not buddy-buddy after their time with the Patriots.
Interestingly, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington indicated on Tuesday that Brady almost signed with a NFC South team other than the Tampa Bay Bucs.
“I’m gonna say it as clear as day: it’s the New Orleans Saints,” Darlington said. “Regret might be a strong word because ultimately Drew Brees decided to delay his broadcasting career and come back for one more season. The Saints did the right thing by bringing Brees back. But I think that people still underestimate how close Tom Brady was to signing with the New Orleans Saints up until he ultimately decided on the Bucs. I know that that’s gonna be a statement people try to question. It’s the truth.”
Regardless of all that happened behind the scenes, the fact is Brady did wind up going to Tampa, and he won another Super Bowl in his first season with his new team. With the entire starting lineup returning in 2021, the Bucs are once again favorites to win it all.