Rapoport: Tom Brady to 49ers Free-Agency Rumor Can't Be Substantiated

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2020

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 21:   (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in action against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Patriots defeated the Jets 33-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

While there have been rumors that the San Francisco 49ers would like to sign Tom Brady this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network threw cold water on them Wednesday.

Rapoport said he "[has] not been able to substantiate any interest from the 49ers' standpoint." He added the Niners are happy to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback in 2020.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: Because they made me, I answered the question of, "Will Tom Brady end up with the #49ers?" https://t.co/1JjGJKmcH6

From a narrative standpoint, Brady going to the Bay Area would almost be too good to be true.

The 42-year-old is a native of San Mateo, California, and grew up as a Niners fan. This generation's Joe Montana would be returning home to join the franchise that Montana guided to four Super Bowl titles.

Brady would also presumably be replacing Garoppolo, whom the Patriots originally tabbed to be his successor. ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported in January 2018 that Brady hadn't exactly rolled out the red carpet for Garoppolo after New England had selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft.

Alas, replacing Garoppolo for Brady doesn't make much sense for San Francisco.

As much as Brady has done over his NFL career, he may not be a significant upgrade over his one-time protege. Garoppolo was a more efficient passer in 2019, though he did have an interception percentage (2.7) that was more than double that of Brady (1.3), per Pro Football Reference.

  • Garoppolo: 69.1 percent completion rate, 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 102.0 QB rating, 60.2 QBR
  • Brady: 60.8 completion rate, 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 88.0 QB rating, 52.5 QBR

Look at almost any Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback (Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Troy Aikman in particular), and they inevitably fell victim to Father Time.

As much as the NFL has done to make life easier for QBs and increase the longevity of the elite passers, Brady will potentially be the first quarterback in league history to play a full season after turning 43, per Pro Football Reference.

The Niners have Garoppolo under contract through 2022 as well, whereas it's impossible to project Brady's future beyond 2020.

San Francisco's five-year, $137.5 million extension for Garoppolo in 2018 was partially an admission of the difficulty in identifying a franchise quarterback. Were the Niners to trade him, they could be back at square one this time next offseason.