Tom Brady Rumors: Some Insiders Expect Retirement; Raiders Linked If QB Returns

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 24, 2023

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs onto the field prior to an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders are reportedly a potential destination for Tom Brady.

Rumors and speculation have run rampant on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback's future, and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler dropped some more information Tuesday.

A few teams believe the 45-year-old impending free agent will retire, but the Raiders appear squarely in the mix if he does not hang it up, per Fowler:

"This one's been telegraphed since the end of the season -- it's now the worst-kept secret that Las Vegas would have interest in signing Brady.

"A few teams I've spoken to expect Brady to retire. But should he play, the Raiders believe they are one of about three teams that he would consider. Tampa Bay isn't out of it yet, though Brady appeared to say his goodbyes to the media in his last news conference with the team following the playoff loss to Dallas.

"'I just think with the weapons they have and the familiarity with Josh McDaniels' offense and the people there, it would be a seamless transition for him,' a veteran AFC offensive coach said."

Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels served as Brady's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2008 and 2012 to 2019.

McDaniels started coaching Brady in 2004 when head coach Bill Belichick promoted him from a defensive assistant to quarterbacks coach, so he and Brady have worked together for 13 seasons, four of which ended in Super Bowl victories.

The Silver and Black need a quarterback after signaling a parting of ways by benching quarterback Derek Carr, who has said he is moving on.

Adding Brady is an obvious solution given his longtime connection with McDaniels, but it isn't known whether he wants to return for a 24th NFL season.

Brady retired for 40 days last offseason before announcing his return to the Bucs.

This season didn't go well for him and the team. Tampa Bay won the NFC South but finished with an 8-9 record and lost 31-14 to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Round.

Brady finished 18th out of 33 qualified signal-callers in quarterback rating and ESPN's Total QBR. He finished seventh and second, respectively, in those categories in 2021 while leading the league with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns.

One of the main reasons for the regression was a change in personnel on the offensive line. In 2021, tackles Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs, guard Alex Cappa and center Ryan Jensen started all 17 games, and guard Ali Marpet started 16. However, Marpet retired and Cappa left in free agency for the Cincinnati Bengals.

This season, Smith and Wirfs both missed four games with injuries, and Jensen missed the entire season minus the playoff game because of a knee injury suffered in training camp.

The unit still did a great job of protecting Brady, who was sacked just 22 times for the second straight year. But the line couldn't open up enough running lanes as Bucs running backs finished with an NFL-low 3.56 yards per carry, according to Football Outsiders. That put the onus on Brady to get it done offensively with the run game dormant.

The Bucs also decided to make a change at offensive coordinator after the season, firing Byron Leftwich after four years at the helm.

It's unknown what Brady will do, as he made clear on his Let's Go! podcast with sportscaster Jim Gray and ex-NFL legend Larry Fitzgerald.

Rick Stroud @NFLSTROUD

Tom Brady to Jim Gray on his Let's Go! podcast about whether he will play in 2023. "If I knew what I was going to f---ing do I would've already f---ing done it. I'm taking it a day at a time.<br>"I appreciate you asking. Thank you.''

It's a waiting game as people connect the dots on the possibilities, including a potential reunion with McDaniels in Vegas.