He never did it alone, though.
Brady has been able to take guys like Wes Welker from being an afterthought to the league’s most dangerous slot receiver. For a short time, he also had one of the best vertical threats in NFL history, Randy Moss, whose career he helped resurrect after an uninspiring stint with the Oakland Raiders.
What has been a constant for Brady is that he’s always had a security blanket in Welker and another guy who could score touchdowns. After the Patriots parted ways with Moss a couple of years ago, the touchdowns started coming from tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Well, things have changed drastically since then.
Welker is now with the Denver Broncos and Gronkowski has more injury concerns than we had originally thought. Brady is now left with Julian Edelman as his No. 1 receiver and three rookies behind him—none of which have been consistent.
Brady’s numbers have seriously deflated as a result, and while the Patriots are 3-0, it is still cause for concern.
So far this season, the Patriots have played the Bills, Jets and Buccaneers, three teams who should not have been as competitive as they were against New England. It’s evident that something is missing from the Pats’ offense, and that is the legitimacy of a touchdown-scoring threat.
While Brady has reached out to former teammates Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd about rejoining the team, they wouldn’t be more than a bandage and aren’t likely to sign anyways. The Patriots need a long-term answer at the receiver position to play across from Danny Amendola, another injured receiver.
Their rookies are clearly not ready to step into major roles yet, so New England is left with a few options: They can either play out this season as they have been, hoping for the best or they could wait until after the season to target a free-agent receiver, but there’s no guarantee they’ll land one.
The third and most likely option is to trade for someone. The player that comes to mind is sophomore receiver Josh Gordon, a guy who has seemingly come available in the last day or so.
The Cleveland Browns picked up Gordon in last year’s supplemental draft and he has since impressed, but the front office let it be known yesterday that they were willing to trade the second-year receiver (per Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com).
Gordon responded to the news by reeling in 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, all with Brady’s former understudy, Brian Hoyer, throwing him the ball. If Gordon can put up these type of numbers in the Browns’ offense, imagine what he could do with a guy like Brady throwing him the ball.
At just 22 years old, Gordon still has majority of his career ahead of him and would be a major addition to the ailing Patriots offense. He’s a good, long-term investment for the Patriots that probably wouldn’t cost them more than a third- or fourth-round pick.
In fact, he may not even be worth that much.
Browns general manager Michael Lombardi has been public about his adoration for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, and this may be the time to dangle Gordon in front of the Patriots’ front office in an effort to get the guy he wants.
If you tacked on a sixth-rounder with Mallett, then that’s a hard offer to refuse if you’re the Browns. Not only would they get their franchise quarterback (who has been studying under Brady the Great for three years nonetheless) and another draft pick to build your team.
The elephant in the room is that Gordon is fresh off a two-game suspension, but Bill Belichick has a history of straightening up troubled players. Gordon has also made it abundantly clear that he’s worth the trouble. He’s a tremendous deep-threat with great speed and solid hands.
It’s not typical of Belichick to do a ton of wheeling and dealing, but he might be keen to this opportunity.
The word is that there is already one handsome offer for Gordon on the table, and that could very well be the Patriots. Lombardi has a history with Belichick from their time together on Cleveland’s staff in the 1980s and 90s.
Strictly based off of logic, there is a solid chance that the mystery team is in fact in the Patriots and that this fantasy could soon become reality.
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said today that the team has “no plans” of trading Gordon, or anyone for that matter (per Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland.com). While that could be the case for now, he could be singing a different tune should the right offer surface. After all, no one had any inkling that they would trade Trent Richardson to the Colts (especially this early on in the season) but they pulled that trigger without batting an eye.