Why the Patriots could eventually move on from Tom Brady

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 28: Tom Brady /

Now that Tom Brady has turned 40, how much longer will the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback wear a New England Patriots uniform?

I got in a debate with my colleague @GioJRivera on twitter the other day about Tom Brady and his future with the New England Patriots.

The back and forth started as a result of a little prediction made by no other than Skip Bayless.

Here’s the tweet that started it:

Before I get into this, I need to frame my argument.

First of all, I’m not trying to make a case for getting rid of Tom Brady right now. He just had one of his best seasons ever, and capped it off with an MVP performance in the Super Bowl. I’d even say he’s still probably the best quarterback in the NFL today.

So what am I arguing? That it wouldn’t shock me if Bill Belichick moves on from Tom Brady AT SOME POINT. Am I crazy? Do I want the Patriots dynasty to crash and burn? No, I just know (think I know) how Bill Belichick runs his team.

Also let’s not worry about the second line of this tweet because that’s a topic for another day. Whether or not I think we should go forward with this depends on a lot of different variables.

Bill’s done this before

I know I’m mostly just a hockey writer for this site, but I grew up watching the Patriots. That means I remember all the times Belichick has either cut, let go of, or traded guys that were supposed to retire as Patriots. Think Willie McGinest, Wes Welker, Mike Vrabel or Richard Seymour.

All these guys were impact players for years and were loved by the fans. Sadly, Bill didn’t care. In the case of McGinest and Welker, they wanted to much money, and Vrabel and Seymour were deemed less valuable than a few draft picks.

Fans were outraged by all of these moves, but it’s these decisions, where Bill moves on from guys before they drop off,  that have helped him build the dynasty we see today.

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Obviously this is an easy knock on Brady. Almost no quarterbacks have ever found success into their 40s. Even though Brady is unstoppable right now, who’s to say he can keep it up. I know he eats special food and sleeps in special pajamas, but at some point he’s going to drop off.

Whether it’s off a cliff, like Max Kellerman thinks, or a more gradual decline, it’s gonna happen. As a diehard Patriots fan, I hope it’s not for a while. I just think we need to be realistic.

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If Brady does in fact want to play for a long time, like he says, moving on from him becomes even more likely. Especially with Jimmy Garoppolo waiting in the wings to be our Steve Young, which brings me to my final point.

Everyone else has done this before too

Plenty of Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks have lost their jobs to younger, better players. Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, throw in Tony Romo if you want, the point stays the same. NFL teams do what’s best for the team, and not what’s best for a washed up player.

I totally get why people think Tom Brady should be a Patriot for life. He’s by far the most important player in franchise history. For that reason I sincerely hope he can finish his career in Foxboro, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

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Franchise quarterbacks often push their careers too long. If Brady pushes his the same way, which seems likely, and Garappolo develops as he is expected; It seems incredibly likely that Bill will be forced to move on.