Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is a free agent in 2023, and a recent report by NFL’s Network’s Ian Rapoport indicates that the 45-year-old might return for yet another season next year. Rapoport indicated that Brady’s mind is not yet made up, but if he does come back, which teams would make the most sense for the greatest quarterback in NFL history?
Five Tom Brady Free Agent Destinations, Ranked
San Francisco 49ers
Far and away the most likely team on this list, the 49ers make perfect sense for Brady, both from an on- and off-field perspective. From a pure X’s and O’s standpoint, the 49ers have one of the most complete rosters in the league, and Brady would probably love to play for an offensive mastermind in Kyle Shanahan. From an off-field perspective, Brady, a California native, would love to finish his career playing for his hometown team and he chases yet another Super Bowl.
The only real obstacle here is Trey Lance. Selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Lance spent his rookie season on the bench before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2. Due to the small sample, nobody knows if Lance is any good. If Shanahan feels good about his young quarterback, then perhaps he’ll pass on Brady in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and there is a chance Brady could return to Tampa. After all, the 2020 and 2021 seasons prove that Brady can win with this organization, and he’s on pace to reach the playoffs for the third straight year in 2022. However, if he comes back, some changes will need to be made.
Todd Bowles is putting on a clinic for what not to do as a head coach. The former defensive coordinator has definitively proved that the Jets were not responsible for his disastrous first stint as a head coach. It’s hard to imagine any world where Brady and Bowles are both on the Bucs next year, but if Tampa Bay fires Bowles and hires a competent coach, then perhaps Brady will return.
It would take some time to get used to seeing Tom Brady wearing the jersey of his greatest rival. The Colts have essentially streamed the quarterback position ever since Andrew Luck retired, but they’ve never had anyone as good as Tom Brady. Indianapolis has a decent roster, and signing Brady would allow the team to spend the rest of their offseason resources fixing the offensive line. The Colts also need a new head coach, and hiring Sean Payton would also help attract Brady.
New Orleans Saints
Speaking of Sean Payton destinations, recent reports indicate that the former New Orleans Saints head coach might return to his old team in 2023. If the Saints fire Dennis Allen and bring back Payton, then perhaps Brady would be interested in moving from one NFC South team to another. New Orleans doesn’t have the strongest roster right now, but it wouldn’t take much to compete for a playoff spot in a very weak NFC South.
People close to Sean Payton think he's going to coach in 2023. I asked one of them to rank where he'd most likely coach. He listed the Saints No. 1.
Jeff Duncan: If Sean Payton is going to coach somewhere in 2023, it needs to be the Saints https://t.co/1yCvbLZYbu via @nolanews
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) December 11, 2022
New England Patriots
If the 2022 season was a romantic comedy, we’d be at the point where both Brady and Bill Belichick grew tired of their new flings and secretly wanted to get back together. Mac Jones has seriously regressed after a decent rookie campaign and now looks like one of the worst starters in football. Now 70 years old, Belichick might not want to spend his twilight years teaching a guy that might not be a franchise quarterback. The past 20 years proved that Brady and Belichick know how to win together, and the Patriots have a ton of cap space in 2022. Hiring Bill O’Brien to be the offensive coordinator would be the final piece New England needs to field a competitive roster in 2023.