You either have to be sick of all this mess or scared to death.
Every day, more of your basic life is getting restricted. Theaters, bars and restaurants have to either close or allow six feet of space between patrons. If you’re 65 or older, stay inside until further notice. Don’t go anywhere if more than 20 people are there.
Schools are closing left and right nationwide. Yours Truly is about to embark on a month-long Spring Break. Students can forget about such things as athletic competition, field trips, and senior proms. Eighth and twelfth graders might be “checking out” right now, if they haven’t started already.
And of course, what’s left of the national and world sports scene? You name it, it’s either postponed or cancelled. All pro sports, the Masters, all on hold. March Madness is off.
So, what’s left? NFL free agency, and the beginning of legal tampering on Monday.
Which means that in this part of the nation, and also the rest of the USA, all our attention will temporarily shift away from this COVID-19 pandemic and shift towards Tom Brady. Because, as we all know, the NFL quarterback GOAT could possibly leave the only team he has ever known.
Let’s be clear: If there was a Mount Rushmore of Boston area pro athletes in history, Brady is on it. If there was a Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks, Brady is on it. If there is a Mount Rushmore of all NFL players, Brady is (arguably) on it.
Brady may leave the Patriots this week, or soon thereafter. Or he may stay. So can we please set aside, without totally ignoring, all concerns pertaining to the Coronavirus just for a few days? And let’s get back to talking about sports without using the words “cancelled” or “postponed”.
This is no small deal. It is all the sports news we need right now, and it is the only sports news, period. All these sports talk shows can devote the entire time to Brady all week long, especially if rumours of his signing somewhere are imminent.
Media types will be all over this. NFL info guru Adam Schefter was seen on NFL Network on Sunday being interviewed by Hannah Storm. She had to interrupt him as he was checking his cellphone on air. Nothing will get past this guy, especially if it’s Tom Brady related. The last thing on his mind right now is making sure the stores have enough hand sanitizer or toilet paper.
This week is Brady Week. It all started Monday. Teams can finally (or at least overtly) begin talking with Don Yee, Brady’s agent. They can’t talk to Tom himself until Wednesday, when the GOAT can finally (or at least overtly) talk to other teams himself. Brady will then finally learn if there is a market for him. Brady will (hopefully) learn whether or not the grass is greener on the other side. Or, if you can’t get enough cliché, Brady will (hopefully) get to see if he may go from the skillet to the frying pan.
What really matters in all this is how Bill Belichick feels. After seeing Jimmy Garoppolo in the most recent Super Bowl (bad fourth quarter performance notwithstanding), Bob Kraft may stay away from this fray and let His Hoodiness call this one. Which way is Belichick leaning? No one knows. No one will know until it goes down. What “it” turns out to be will fuel the media flames this week, and it should keep fans talking all the while, and not about staying in small groups or wearing face masks.
From this vantage point, here are the various likely results of what has to be the most momentous Patriotic fork in the road since Mo Lewis clobbered Drew Bledsoe almost 20 years ago.
Brady stays. Nothing makes him want to leave, Brady capitulates and takes what Belichick offers him.
Brady leaves. With Tennessee now out of the picture after re-signing Ryan Tannehill, the likely landing spots are the Chargers, Raiders and Buccaneers. Neither place is a sure-fire obvious choice. The Raiders and Bucs are substandard teams who need more than a 43-year-old quarterback. The Chargers were a good team last year but have zero indigenous Los Angeles fans and every home game will have a road game feel. But Brady could perhaps be swayed by either stupid money, a false sense of going to a better situation than the one he’s got, or simply that he’s sick of Belichick and the Patriots and just wants to leave and realize his dream of retiring at age 45.
Belichick tells Brady that he’s going in another direction, and…
He signs free agent Teddy Bridgewater. Any other free agent quarterback signing is not a good deal. Trading for someone like Andy Dalton also isn’t smart. Bridgewater represents the best chance out there to keep the Patriot winning tradition going for at least a little while longer until the next phenom quarterback comes along. Or…
He hands the car keys to Jarrett Stidham, with Cody Kessler as his backup. If you liked what you saw last year from Stidham, okay. Is Stidham anywhere near the equal of Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett? Not on your many cases of bottled water you can’t find. But Belichick may have seen enough of Stidham to use him like he did Brissett: manage the game, don’t win the game. That tactic worked great for the 49ers until the Super Bowl, when Jimmy G melted down in the end.
Whatever the case, this is a huge week for the Patriots, quite possibly a franchise-changing week. That is not overstating things. Brady has to leave some day. Is that day this week, and if so, whither the Patriots if he does?
What may turn out to be the result of all this is that both the Patriots and Brady are the best current options for each other. In this quarterback-rich draft, none of the top tier quarterbacks will fall to the Patriots unless they trade up, and Belichick seems to only trade down. Save for some unforeseen draft deal (and put Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa out of your mind), Brady will stay put because it’s the best for him. And the Patriots will keep Brady because there is no better, blow you out of the water, option out there.
But we still need to talk about it until something happens. So fine, talk about it. Call up your local radio show and give your opinion. The more you scream and yell like a lunatic, the more airtime you’ll get. Text or email your favorite (or least favorite) columnist and vent. Start rumours. Start arguments. Turn all this into something bigger than some Chinese virus.
Because after 2 weeks of this pandemic and all that’s happened, we need relief and in large doses. Brady has big shoulders, and he can take all the attention.
Step up, Mister GOAT, for the national sports scene is all yours this week
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary