Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Brady and the Saints had a strong mutual interest in the event Brees retired in favor of a career in television. Brady told a few Saints players of his desire to play in New Orleans, and coach Sean Payton saw the six-time Super Bowl winner as a "perfect" replacement for Brees.
Their flirtation ended when Brees announced he would return for the 2020 season.
The Chicago Bears also expressed interest in Brady, who rebuffed their advances because of a desire to play in a warm climate. The Miami Dolphins were in the mix as well, per ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington. His decision ultimately came down to a choice between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers.
Brady will make his Buccaneers debut Sunday against Brees and the Saints, the first time since the turn of the century we've seen him wear anything but a Patriots uniform.
He'll have his strongest complement of weapons since perhaps the 2007 season, joining an offense that features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II. If Brady, 43, has anything left in the tank, he may be joining a better situation than he would have had in New Orleans.
Brees, 41, is considered likely to retire after the 2020 season and already has a job waiting for him at NBC Sports when he does. However, the appeal of making one final Super Bowl push got him back on the field and prevented what would have been one of the most notable shifts in power in NFL history.
We'll get a better idea of how both future Hall of Famers feel about their decisions after Sunday.