Patriots Will Replace Tom Brady With Andy Dalton
The Patriots will replace Tom Brady with Andy Dalton if the six-time Super Bowl champion chooses to leave.
Obviously New England would prefer to have Brady return to the fold in 2020-21. With him becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Patriots are prepared to make him a very competitive financial offer that will pay him $30 million annually for two years.
Team owner Robert Kraft recently came out and repeatedly expressed his adoration for Brady and how much he wanted him to return.
“Before the season started it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year,” he said.
“You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right.
“I love the young man like he’s part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years,” Kraft continued.
“And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he plays for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest.”
From NFL Now: The #Bengals are willing to work with QB Andy Dalton on a trade, I’m told, a plan that has been communicated to him. This meshes with what exec Duke Tobin told me a few weeks ago that when decisions happen, “I’ll be in contact with him.” (https://t.co/rrfjo3eYy9) pic.twitter.com/WPr3gb65rV
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2020
While the Patriots clearly want Brady to return, it is unclear if the interest is mutual. To date, the future Hall of Fame quarterback has been very lukewarm on possibly coming back.
Although he has not explicitly shut the door on another run with New England, he also has not seemed particularly enthusiastic about it.
“I’m open-minded about the process,” Brady said of free agency.
“At the same time, I love playing football and I want to continue to play and do a great job. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. Whatever the future may bring, I’ll embrace it with open arms.”
Based on the lack of confirmatory signals Brady has given the organization, the Patriots need to start developing a Plan B.
That Plan B may just be Dalton.
According to NBC Sports NFL insider Peter King, Dalton is a viable alternative to Brady should he leave to the Los Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders or one of the other teams he has been associated with in recent months.
“If Belichick makes up his mind that it’s time to move on from Brady, then my argument is moot,” King said.
“Dalton, by the way, would be my pick to start in New England next year if Brady goes. Belichick would love Dalton. He’s a quiet, intense, lunchpail Texan who makes no excuses. And Dalton would embrace the Patriot ethos.”
The Cincinnati Bengals have decided to move on from Dalton, and will likely select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati management has reportedly indicated to Dalton that they will trade him somewhere he wants to go, and he would likely love to end up in New England.
Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowler and has a playing style similar to what Belichick likes in his starters and backups.
Brady will likely make a final decision on his future at some point within the next month. At that point, the Patriots will be forced to respond. Either they will lock him up with a big deal, or they will be forced to scramble and find a replacement.
If the latter occurs, look for Dalton to get the nod to be Brady’s replacement.