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As NFL free agency looms, a situation that seemed impossible could be coming true.
Tom Brady may suit up for a team other than the New England Patriots.
The 42-year-old quarterback is set to test the free-agent market after spending the first 20 years of his career in New England. Over the past two decades, Brady has become one of the most successful players of all time, playing in nine Super Bowls, winning six championships and capturing three NFL MVP Awards.
And because of those accolades, Brady is going to have plenty of suitors should he decide he’s open to playing for a team other than the Patriots.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, there are four teams that are most likely to land Brady—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans—which he shared recently during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
Each of those teams could make a strong push to land one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. That already appears to be the case for the Buccaneers, who could opt to move past the Jameis Winston era and bring in Brady.
The Tampa Bay Times‘ Rick Stroud reported that Tampa Bay is going “all in” on Brady and is prepared to “do almost anything” to convince him to sign. The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since the 2007 season, and they haven’t won a postseason game since their Super Bowl XXXVII victory. So it makes sense that they would do whatever it takes to land one of the most successful players ever.
Brady reportedly would like to have some control over the roster and be part of play-calling decisions wherever he signs, and the Bucs would be willing to give him that, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini (h/t Stroud). If other teams don’t feel the same way, then that could give Tampa Bay an advantage in one aspect.
The other three teams that Darlington reported could land Brady all have different quarterback situations.
The Chargers are moving on from veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who has been their starter for the past 14 seasons.
Both quarterbacks who started for the Titans last season— Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota—are free agents.
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Derek Carr has been the Raiders’ starter for six seasons, but it’s possible the franchise will want to go in a different direction after reaching the playoffs only once since the 2002 season and losing its only postseason game during that span.
So it appears Brady will have plenty of options on the table when free agency begins. And whichever team lands him will immediately have a star leading its offense.
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