The New England Patriots did not look like themselves against the Titans. One sign was the fact that they were in the Wild Card game to begin with, and then, they were knocked out immediately.
This loss could be the indicator that football in New England is reaching an end of an era. Tom Brady hits the free agent market in March. The Patriots may decide it is time to let him play somewhere else. It could be time for them to take the field with a new QB.
Maybe Brady retires and doesn’t even give the Patriots a choice.
Brady himself said that he is not ready to talk about the future:
Of course, the playoffs haven’t even finished yet. It’s going to be quite a bit of time before Brady even lets out a hint on his decision.
Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick made it clear that it was too soon after the loss to the Titans to talk about Brady’s future:
With a lot of nothing answers to questions going around, the rest is up to speculation.
Do the Patriots Have an Alternative to Brady?
This time around, there is no Matt Cassel and no Jimmy Garoppollo. Is someone in line to take the throne within the Patriots system? The current backup, Jarrett Stidham, could be an option. Stidham was drafted out of Auburn in the fourth round of the 2019 draft by the Patriots. He did see some playing time. Ok, the “some” is a stretch, but with Brady playing, it’s good enough. Stidham took the field in two games early in the season. He threw four passes in two of those games. Two were completed, and one was a pick. If Brady does not return, Belichick may give the 23-year-old backup a shot at the starting job.
What about free agents? There are options out there that the Patriots could look at.
Here are some potential players the Patriots could look at:
- Dak Prescott
- Ryan Tannehill
- Case Keenum
- Marcus Mariota
- Blake Bortles
- Jameis Winston
- Eli Manning
- Philip Rivers
- Josh McCown
Are the Patriots really going to sign any of these guys? Not likely. Winston and Prescott, for starters, will likely stay with their respective teams. If any of these QBs were to be signed by the Patriots, Tannehill and McCown, by default, are the two most likely.
Just looking at who is available, replacing Brady would be difficult.
Where Could Brady Go?
Brady will probably retire if he is not back with the Patriots next year. However, it is not a guarantee that he does retire. Some teams such as the Buccaneers and the Chargers might be looking to replace their current QBs. Other teams might be interested if they miss a player in the draft like the Dolphins.
Brady will be highly sought after if decides to play somewhere else and will likely be paid top dollar for it.
But, let’s take a look at reality. This is Tom Brady. When it comes to leaving the Patriots or retiring, only believe it when you see it.