Tom Brady Returning To Patriots, Joined By Emmanuel Sanders
Tom Brady is returning to the Patriots and being joined by Emmanuel Sanders, most likely.
For all the talk and speculation, Brady coming back to New England still makes a lot of sense.
While the 42-year-old has obviously very publicly been flirting with the notion of leaving the team that drafted him, he is also not stupid.
The Patriots, even with no major pieces added this offseason, are still closer to a Super Bowl than the vast majority of the organizations that have been linked to Brady to date.
The Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts all face very steep uphill battles to contention.
Really, only the Tennessee Titans can offer a competitive situation to Brady. Mike Vrabel’s squad was obviously the team that knocked New England out of the playoffs last season in the AFC Wild Card Round, so he knows they are for real.
Moreover, after dispatching the Patriots, the Titans then went on to upset the Baltimore Ravens before ultimately losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
If Brady’s main priority is winning, there are only two real possibilities for him: New England and Tennessee.
While Tennessee is obviously an intriguing place, it does not hold the geographical advantages and familiarity that New England does.
More likely than not, everything Brady has done up to this point in terms of not committing to the Patriots was a means of accomplishing two things.
First and foremost, the future Hall of Famer wants to be paid fair value in his final contract after spending his whole career providing the Patriots with financial leeway to get other players.
Secondly, he likely wants to put the onus on the organization to go out and get him some help. Last season, the offense was thin on talent outside of Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Recently the experts at Pro Football Focus offered their take on what will happen with Brady. They see a scenario where he returns to the fold after getting $30 million annually for two years and some help.
In their estimation, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders might be precisely the piece necessary to alleviate some of Brady’s concerns heading into 2020-21.
“Let’s be sensible here and consider that this is likely just a hell of a marketing ploy and an attempt to scare Bill Belichick into getting Brady some receiving weapons,” they wrote.
“His time has passed from elevating a group of no-name receivers, but he’s still a top quarterback in this league.
“Brady was still the 12th highest-graded quarterback of 2019 and is just a year removed from being a top-five quarterback in grade and WAR.”
This past year, Brady amassed 4,057 yards, 24 scores and eight picks. While he is no longer the player he was at his career peak, he is still a very capable quarterback who is a threat to take a team to the Super Bowl every year.
Equally importantly, the Patriots clearly want him back. Team owner Robert Kraft said this much when pressed on the matter.
“I love the young man like he’s part of my family,” Kraft said.
“Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years. And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he play 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.”
Barring something totally unforeseen happening, all signs point to Brady making a triumphant return to New England next season and spending his twilight years trying to lead the Patriots to one more championship.