Sure as the sun will rise in the morning, Tom Brady rumors will be there ready to be illuminated in the shadows.
With his football future once again uncertain, Brady is the subject of seemingly endless rumors when it comes to what he’ll do next. The needle seems to have shifted from Brady retiring this offseason to him returning for one more year and playing somewhere other than Tampa Bay.
Both retirement and a return to the Bucs are options very much on the table still, but they’re the least talked about options. To be fair, they’re also the least interesting when it comes to daily drumming up a conversation about Brady and his future.
Two potential landing spots stick out above the rest when talking about Brady’s future: San Francisco and Las Vegas.
One team seems to be in an almost identical spot to the 2020 Buccaneers with a league-leading defense, insane offensive weapons, and an offensive-minded head coach and seems to be one piece away from winning a Super Bowl. The other team is the Raiders.
To be fair, the connection to Vegas is Josh McDaniels, who was Brady’s offensive coordinator for years in New England. The Raiders are many steps behind the Niners in terms of being ready to win a Super Bowl in one season with Brady, but stranger things have happened.
Outside of those two teams, the rumor waters get murky. The Dolphins were named as a potential fit, stemming from the weird drama from this past offseason, and the Patriots have been mentioned as a potential coming full-circle option as well. Beyond that — and even with those aforementioned options — it feels like a dart throw.
Tom Brady Rumors: An NFC North contender might be a darkhorse landing spot
Take this for what it’s worth, but an unnamed NFL executive allegedly told NFL Draft Analysis that the Vikings shouldn’t be counted out as a potential landing spot for Brady this offseason.
"“I know the Raiders and Dolphins are the two most talked about. The 49ers are another possible destination, but they have Brock Purdy now. Watch out for the Vikings. Replacing Kirk Cousins with Brady would make them an actual legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl.”"
This is the second NFC North team to be mentioned as a potential fit for Brady. PFT’s Mike Florio floated the Detroit Lions as an option in more of a thought exercise than anything else, but that’s how easy it is to connect Brady to virtually any team in the league.
Detroit actually has an interesting case, when you think about it, and so too do the Vikings.
Adam Patrick from The Viking Age points out just how seismic a difference Brady might make in Minnesota and how wide the gap really is between him and Kirk Cousins.
If the argument for Brady going to the 49ers is they’re one piece away from winning a Super Bowl, many of the same points can be made for the Vikings. Kevin O’Connell isn’t Kyle Shanahan, but he’s an offensive-minded head coach with a defense that looks like it will try to restore its reputation next year — and has the talent to do so — and offensive weapons like Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and T.J. Hockenson.
The NFC North is also as up for grabs as it’s ever been. Aaron Rodgers might be playing somewhere else next season, Justin Fields is good but the Bears are a mess, and the Jed Goff-led Lions might legitimately be the second-best team in the division. Zoom out and the NFC isn’t exactly filled with world-beaters. Outside of the Eagles and 49ers, no team seems unbeatable and even those two teams might naturally regress next season (Philly from the Super Bowl hangover and the Niners if they have to keep grabbing dudes off of the street to play quarterback).
No one knows what Brady is going to do, not even the man himself. A return to Tampa Bay still seems like his best option this side of retirement, but until he makes a decision there are cases to be made for him all across the NFL.