Shortly before the New England Patriots played the New York Jets on Monday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter restarted the clock on speculation about Tom Brady’s future with the team, noting that Brady and his close friend and trainer have “For Sale” signs on their homes.
Although Brady has famously said he hopes to play until he’s 45, he also happens to have the freedom to void his contract after the season and that is further fuel for Schefter that this might be his last season in New England. On Wednesday, Brady claimed uncertainty about what lies ahead.
“That is the great part for me, I don’t know,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show.” “I think that has been a unique situation that I have been in because I think when you commit to a team for a certain amount of years, you kind feel like [there is] the responsibility to always fulfill the contract.
“For me, it’s been good because I am just taking it day-by-day and I am enjoying what I have. I don’t know what the future holds and the great part is for me, football at this point is all borrowed time.”
That aligns with what Brady told ESPN’s Randy Moss, one of his former teammates, even as he tried to explain why he’s still in the game at 42.
“I think for me, one, it is the love of the game,” Brady said. “I enjoy it. Football is my first love. I sit here and think, ‘If I wasn’t playing football, what would I be doing?’ I can’t find an answer to that. It’s like why not keep doing what I am doing?”
At some point, though, “why not” may be an insufficient reason to keep playing.
“I think there are a lot of people that have made sacrifices in their life to support me — my wife, my kids, my family. They are getting a little bit older, so it isn’t going to last forever,” he said.
“You know, it will come. It is getting closer. We’re close to the end,” he added. “It is not going to go on forever. I am enjoying it. For me, at this point, it is really about the relationships. The people who I play for, the people who I play with, that is what I am enjoying.”
Brady at 42 is in his 20th season with the 7-0 Patriots. Over the summer, he reworked his contract so that he can officially become a free agent after the season. With the Patriots stressing defense this season, he is seventh among NFL quarterbacks in passing with 1,992 yards (with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions) and his 65.9 percent completion rate is among his best.
Schefter connected the dots Monday night. “Let’s boil this down to the basic facts once again,” he said. “Let’s look at some simple things: Has he put his home for sale? Yes. Has his trainer [TB12′s Alex Guerrero] put his home for sale? Yes. Has he set up his contract to void after this season to become a free agent? Yes. So, if he’s selling his home and his trainer is selling his home and he’s voiding his contract? What does that tell you? He’s setting up to move on.”
If he’s not under center for New England and not relaxing on a beach somewhere in 2020, where might he be? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio was able to imagine him in a different uniform, envisioning him at 43 with perhaps the New Orleans Saints or back in his hometown with the San Francisco 49ers, the team he adored as a child.
“Beyond that,” Florio writes, “there’s no clear match. Other possibilities, in theory, include the Chargers for a year in the new LA stadium, the Titans, where Brady would work with close friend Mike Vrabel, the Raiders for their first year in Las Vegas, and the Broncos as John Elway’s ultimate personnel Hail Mary pass.”
ESPN’s Trey Wingo and Mike Golic considered another team with a great defense and a need at quarterback: Chicago. Allowing that Brady and Belichick may be tiring of one another, they quickly dismissed the idea that he might land in the Windy City.
Although Schefter reported that it “seems clear he’s thinking about leaving New England,” the offseason remains months away.
“There are many times people set up things in their lives to move on and they walk to the abyss and they look down and they say, ‘Whoa. I’m not jumping now,’ ” Schefter allowed. “So he could change his mind.”