The New England Patriots will focus on the offseason after losing to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. The biggest question is: Will Tom Brady return?
Is this too soon New England Patriots fans? It’s probably way too soon, huh? Regardless, I am gonna let this one fly despite the possible ways it can backfire.
The New England Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 20-13 on Saturday night. As they had been all season, Tom Brady and the offense were mediocre, and it’s the reason the Patriots’ season has come to an end.
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Brady went 20-37 for 209 yards and a pick-6 at the end of the game that was thrown out of desperation, as the team trailed by one point at their own one-yard-line with just 25 seconds remaining. Certainly not his best.
Brady will be an unrestricted free agent once the NFL season is officially over and he will have plenty of suitors. The Patriots will be one of those suitors, but how far should they go in order to bring him back?
Before I keep going I’ll make it known that Tom Brady is my favorite professional athlete ever, as he is for many other Boston sports fans. I will always be grateful for the memories he’s provided during his time as a Patriot. No doubt, he’s the greatest quarterback to ever lace up the cleats.
However, you can blame the offensive line, the receivers, Josh McDaniels, or whatever else all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that Brady is also responsible for the lack of success offensively.
That’s not to say it’s completely on him, but let’s be real here. Brady has worked with worse. Remember 2006? Or even 2013 after Rob Gronkowski’s injury? Both of those teams got to the AFC Championship game with a fighter’s chance to make it to the Super Bowl.
This team shouldn’t have lost in the Wildcard round. The offense was bad this season, but I’m not sure in terms of personnel that it was “lose in the Wildcard round at home to the 6th seed” sorts of bad. Brady needed to be better in this game, and all season for that matter.
What this tells us is that while Brady is still capable of playing at a high level, he can no longer make it work with scraps as he once did. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, he’s 42-years-old after all. However, it does mean that the Patriots will need to change up their philosophy if they really want him back.
Make no mistake, I do want Brady to come back, but it all depends on what his demands are. If he’s asking for north of $25 million per season on a deal of over two years, I’m not sure that’s worth it at this point. I’d have given that to him in a heartbeat in any previous years, but now? Maybe not.
The Patriots would also have to entice Brady by making a big acquisition of an elite wide receiver or tight end. They should try to do this regardless of whether or not he wants to return, but that is much easier said than done and they may not be able to go through that process without sacrificing a great deal on the defensive side of the ball.
Of the upcoming free agents for the Patriots, notables include Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins. All three of them contributed in a big way for the Patriots’ defense this season, and the team likely would need to let a couple of them go while retaining Brady and picking up a big name pass catcher.
Not to be understated, left guard Joe Thuney is also hitting the open market and is coming off his best season, as he is a second team All-Pro. The Patriots do have a good amount of cap space, but much of that may be used in order to keep the previously mentioned players around.
If the Patriots can improve the offense and sign Brady while not significantly hurting the defense then I’m all for it. That won’t be an easy task.
Or, they could bring back those key defenders, pay Thuney, improve the pass catchers, and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to boost the defensive line after they just allowed the Titans’ offensive line to flat-out bully them.
I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: I very much so want Tom Brady to be on the Patriots next year. However, it shouldn’t come at the expensive of fielding a competitive team if he isn’t able to bounce back.
All I’m saying is, I don’t completely hate the idea of the New England Patriots starting over at quarterback. I don’t exactly love it either, but bringing in a cheaper guy with a much better team around them might actually work out pretty well. Bill Belichick has a tough choice to make.