LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Raiders really want Tom Brady, who will turn 46 before the start of the next NFL season, to be their quarterback.
Reports indicate Brady is owner Mark Davis’ first choice to replace the deposed Derek Carr. And those who follow the league closely think it could happen. Outside of being Davis’ preference, the main reason is the quarterback’s New England connection.
Brady and Raiders coach Josh McDaniels were together for 13 years and three Super Bowl victories with the Patriots, where McDaniels served as the team’s offensive coordinator.
That connection leads some national media personalities, like Colin Cowherd, whose career began in Las Vegas, to presume a Brady-Raiders marriage. The second choice is Jimmy Garoppolo, who is expected to bolt from the San Francisco 49ers. Garoppolo was a second-round pick in 2014 by the Patriots and also spent time as a McDaniels student.
“It is not a perfect fit if Tom Brady went there,” Cowherd, host of the FS1 show “The Herd with Colin Cowherd, said on a show a few weeks ago. “Josh McDaniels, he’s comfortable with him, and Brady likes comfort. But he’s never proven to be a successful head coach. Lot of criticism of Josh McDaniels’ game management.”
Cowherd, however, thinks the Raiders have top performers at key offensive positions, including Kolton Miller at left tackle, Davante Adams at wide receiver and Josh Jacobs, who has said he wants to returns, at running back.
“The Raiders do, and this is important, … check the right boxes,” Cowherd said.
Clay Baker, host of “Morning Tailgate,” on Raider Nation radio 920AM, says Brady “has got to be on top of the play list.”
Familiarity with Josh McDaniels’ offense and their success in New England make them a perfect fit, Baker says.
“I don’t think he’s going back to Tampa Bay,” Baker says. “They look like a rebuild there.”
Baker believes that the lone sticking point in coming to Las Vegas would be family considerations and not necessarily a team that’s poised to win, a box the Raiders don’t seem to check.
“As much as Tom would like to be with Josh, in my opinion, he doesn’t want to be too far away from family,” Baker says.,
That could mean an East Coast team, perhaps the New York Jets or even Miami Dolphins, both division rivals of the Patriots.
Another national voice, Bill Simmons, of “The Bill Simmons Podcast” on The Ringer, thinks Brady will go to a team that’s poised to win soon, like the Miami Dolphins.
“The Dolphins are my main pick,” he said on a recent podcast. “My backup pick is Carolina.”
Both teams have stronger defenses than the Raiders and perhaps deeper rosters. All that’s needed is experience at quarterback.
Like Cowherd, Pat McAfee, of “The Pat McAfee Show,” thinks the Raiders’ offensive weapons, plus the New England connection, bring Brady to Southern Nevada. “We said … Tom Brady is going to Vegas … They seemingly have all the pieces … then you add in Josh McDaniels … Tom Brady is going to the Raiders. It makes too much sense.”
Chris Maathuis, sports director at 8 News Now, and his Channel 8 colleague, Ron Futrell, both longtime Las Vegas sports followers, understand the reasons for a Brady-to-Raiders move. But both think the chances are slim. And that such a move would be unwise. For maybe Brady and the team.
Maathuis says the Raiders have money – about $55 million under the cap – to bring in Brady and beef up the offensive line, which needs some work. If they don’t add to the O-line, then Brady would be under immense pressure and running for his life.
“Having said all that, I don’t think Brady comes to Vegas,” he said. “I just don’t. Something in my gut tells me he retires for real this time. After all, he’s not a boxer. Being the GOAT, Brady may feel he doesn’t want to battle any more trolls and just go eat the green grass waiting on the other side of the bridge.”
Futrell puts the odds on Brady at 1 in 4 and thinks hiring a quarterback who turns 46 in August would be imprudent.
“The Raiders need to find a QB who would be a better match for their O-line, one who could scramble,” he says. “Another option is to improve the offensive line, but now you’re talking money issues. Bringing on Brady, re-signing Josh Jacobs, fixing the offensive line will all be expensive. The defense is ranked 28th in the league in yards allowed and needs real help.”
On the other hand, Logan Reever, a colleague of Maathuis and Futrell on the 8 News Now sports team, thinks the chances of a Brady-Raiders union are high. It’s not a perfect roster, Reever says, but there are some good pieces on offense.
“And partly because the Raiders are one of the few teams that can provide him with what he wants, who he wants to be around and has an open vacancy when it comes to a signal-caller with a roster that’s ready to win now,” Reever says. “The Raiders fit a little better and are maybe closer to winning than some other teams.”
Oddschecker.com has posted Brady to the Raiders at +275 odds (or a 26.7%) chance, not far off Futrell’s 1 in 4 chance. Garoppolo is at +350 (a 22.2% chance).
If it’s not Brady, because of age, retirement or a team that could be closer to winning, then maybe bet on Garoppolo. Assistant coaches who have left New England to lead their own teams like to add former Patriots. McDaniels did it before the start of last season, adding high-priced defensive lineman Chandler Jones and a more reasonably-priced defensive back in Duron Harmon.
Finally, if reports are accurate and the owner wants Brady, then consider one national voice’s reasoning: It makes too much sense.