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NFL Rumors: Bucs Want Tom Brady to Return amid 49ers, Raiders, Titans Buzz

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2023

ATLANTA, GA  JANUARY 08:  Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up prior to the start of the NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons on January 8th, 2023 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly plan to make a strong push for Tom Brady to return for the 2023 season.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Bucs "very much want [Brady] back," but there remains a chance the future Hall of Famer tests the waters in free agency.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLGameDay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLGameDay</a>: With an eye toward Monday night, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> owner Jerry Jones was clear about Mike McCarthy's job status, while <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a> QB Tom Brady will be one of the most interesting free agents in 2023. <a href="https://t.co/MuPsUiey91">pic.twitter.com/MuPsUiey91</a>

The Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers are considered potential contenders to sign Brady, who will be 46 years old next season.

The Raiders are planning to move on from Derek Carr this offseason and have several people in their organization with ties to Brady, including head coach Josh McDaniels. Brady and McDaniels worked hand-in-hand during his 11 seasons as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator. McDaniels also brought along several assistants from New England when he took the Raiders job last offseason.

The Titans could trade or release Ryan Tannehill if they plan to pursue Brady. Tannehill has only one year remaining on his contract, and Tennessee could save $17.8 million off its cap for next season by trading or cutting him before June 1. The number would go up to $27 million if Tannehill is designated a post-June 1 cut or traded after the start of the month.

After a strong start to his Titans career, Tannehill has been a decidedly average (at best) starting quarterback the last two seasons. He threw for 2,536 yards and 13 touchdowns against six interceptions in 12 starts this season before being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Brady also has built-in relationships in Tennessee, with head coach Mike Vrabel being a longtime former teammate with the Patriots.

The 49ers, Brady's childhood favorite team, appear to be by far the unlikeliest of the potential suitors. San Francisco appears to have found lightning in a bottle with Brock Purdy, a rookie seventh-round pick who threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns in his playoff debut Saturday.

If Purdy continues to prove himself as a long-term option, his four-year, $3.7 million contract instantly becomes the best value in football.

The 49ers could build an all-star cast around Purdy while he plays out his rookie contract, which may be a preferable option to signing a declining Brady. Trey Lance, the team's 2021 first-round pick, also remains on the roster and will be part of the quarterback conversation moving forward.

Lance is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury suffered in Week 2's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He is expected to be ready for organized team activities this offseason.