So Where Do They Go From Here?
As promised at some point in the recent past, let’s have a really, really, really early look at where the New England Patriots could be headed next season. Take a look at the players on the current roster and their status. What I think might happen going into next season. Some thoughts about what should happen. And perhaps some chatter about what we in this space here WANT to happen.
I know, the 2019 NFL season isn’t even over, free agency doesn’t start for about two months and the draft is about three and a half months away. But QB Tom Brady’s future has been speculated upon all season. And there are about 20 other free agents that will need to be accounted for. So it’s fun to think about, even at this early juncture. Well, for me anyway…
But think about it. Arguably the best player of all time could leave this organization. Several other marquee players could jump ship as well. The Pats could have some significant roster turnover next season and be led by a 2nd year quarterback who barely played his first season. Although that storyline sounds eerily familiar, let’s not put Jarrett Stidham in Brady’s class yet, ok? Despite some late season stories by beat writers that said Stidham was making “wow” throws in practice all season. Let’s pump the brakes on all that please.
Seriously, however, not only is Brady a free agent with some significant other players, there could be some additional salary cap casualties involving older, high priced, consistently banged up players.
Also consider the way coach Bill Belichick likes to trade, especially during the draft, when you add it all up, it is going to be a FASCINATING offseason. Even for non-Patriot fans, as they wait to see what happens with Brady, first and foremost. And if it indeed is the end of an era for the organization.
Per usual when we do these things, let’s take a look by position, starting today with the offense:
Under contract: Jarrett Stidham, Cody Kessler
Free Agents: Tom Brady
Comments: The elephant in the room right off the bat. Brady. What happens? Your guess is as good as mine. Brady spent all year kind of whining. His behavior appeared to be about the weapons he was given to work with throughout the year. But you have to believe it was about the money too. How they have made him work for his money with incentives, voidable contracts and all that. And how, after all these years, they just wouldn’t give him a three year contract to play until his goal of 45 years old. Not for top dollar, mind you. But I am sure for decent money. Maybe his attitude had to do with that he is sick of coach Bill Belichick and his methods. And even offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as rumors had it later in the year.
Any way you slice it, Brady’s demeanor was different this year. And it has led many to believe he will be gone as soon as he gets a chance. For the first time in his career, he is a free agent. So he will have that chance.
Recent rumors have indicated that he may have softened his stance however. That he really doesn’t want to “start over” in a new city, system, etc. If he felt that way it would be unsurprising. But it also would be quite a sudden turn of events from what he portrayed all season.
That all being said, how much is any team across the league going to pay a 43 year old quarterback, despite being arguably the best player of ALL-TIME? Sure, some bottom feeder could open the coffers to get Brady in and draw fans in. Would Brady do something like that? Hard to believe. He has always been about winning and not the highest bidder. And what would it feel like to him to just be an attraction?
Does Bill even want him back? I am not so sure that is the case. Not that Stidham is ready. Or is even the long term answer. But Bill may be ready to move on. Especially if Brady doesn’t go to the offseason stuff like he used to and work with the young/new receivers to help ensure a more seamless transition into the real games? But also…BECAUSE HE IS 43 YEARS OLD! People seem to think this guy can go on forever. There is simply no data for QBs to be successful at his age. Not to mention the fact that Bill usually gets rid of guys “a year too early rather than a year too late”. And everyone already assumes he had wanted to move on from Brady when Jimmy Garoppolo was ready to go.
Brady is not done. He has declined, despite what a lot of people think. But he is far from done. But could he be next year? Sure can. If I was Bill, I wouldn’t hand him a 3 year contract either. Doesn’t matter who he is. If he would come back on a one year deal, would he be better than Stidham or a veteran stopgap such as Andy Dalton? Damn right. But Brady may not want to do that.
All of the above would probably be moot if owner Robert Kraft stepped in. Don’t rule that out either.
No one knows what is going to happen. I don’t know the right answer as to what should happen. I am not sure what I even WANT to happen. I could go either way. Let Brady walk, root for him on another team, see if he can win, see if Bill can win with the replacement QB in New England, etc. Or bring him back for at least one more year (if he will do it), surround him with better talent and make one more run at it. After all, the last time Brady had this kind of crew at receiver, Randy Moss and Wes Welker came walking through that door the following year.
One thing is for sure: I can’t wait for this to play out. I am sure everyone else is in the same boat.
Next: The remainder of the offense and specialists.
Posted on January 23, 2020, in Uncategorized and tagged Bill Belichick, Cody Kessler, Free agency, GOAT, Jarrett Stidham, Josh McDaniels, Money, NFL, offseason, Playoffs, question marks, Robert Kraft, roster, Salary cap, Super Bowl, Tom Brady. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.