Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots, and is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Any team that wants a crack at the legendary quarterback better be sure to consider his needs. Brady, 42, is asking for a few things that no other free agent has ever really asked for. According to Dianna Russini of ESPN, Brady has two big "wants" that he'll be looking for in his new team.
"Some of the things Brady wants: Control over roster [and] he wants to be part of making decisions on the play calling," Russini said this week on ESPN's "Get Up."
Apparently, any team that wants to sign Brady (presumably the Bucs) the quarterback is also going to have to agree to take on Brady the general manager. A player asking for any type of control over the roster is absolutely unheard of, but in Brady's case, it actually makes a little bit of sense. Brady knows he only has one or two seasons left, and you can bet that he doesn't want to waste away on a team that mismanages its roster. By demanding some roster control, Brady can push his new team to go out and acquire players who can help them win.
For instance, if Brady signs with the Buccaneers and thought they needed offensive line help to win, he could use his new roster control power to implore the team to sign or draft an offensive lineman. From a general manager's perspective, if Brady's decision to bring in a lineman doesn't work out, you basically have plausible deniability with the team's ownership, "Hey, Brady's plan didn't work out, but he's now retired, so let's go back to my plan."
If Brady had roster control in New England last season, it's a virtual guarantee that he would have used it to go out and add a few weapons to the Patriots lackluster offense. Speaking of New England, that also was the one place where Brady isn't going to get any control of the roster. Does that mean Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the reason Brady is leaving? Not fair to say, but it fits with the theory that he wants control.
As for Brady's second demand, it isn't that surprising and it's something that most teams should be willing to allow. If Brady wants a say in play calling, then you give him a say in play calling. No one reads a defense like Brady and he's proven over his 20-year career that he can put his offense in the best position to succeed. As a matter of fact, if I'm an NFL coach, I'd be more than happy to give Brady whatever play-calling decisions he wants to have.
So are there any teams out there that would actually agree to these demands? Russini specifically mentioned one.
"I talked to Tampa Bay. They would love to have Tom Brady," Russini said. "They are willing to give Tom Brady the things he needs, he wants."
The Buccaneers make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons, and if you're wondering why, you can click here to find out. If you don't feel like clicking, here's a brief summary: They have a lot of offensive weapons, they have a lot of salary cap room to add any piece Brady needs and they have a 67-year-old coach who wants to win now. The next Super Bowl is also being played in Tampa, which would give Brady a chance to do something that no other player has ever done: Play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Anyway, if you want to stay up to date on every rumor about Brady between now and the start of free agency on March 18, make sure to click here to check out our free agency hub for the former Patriots quarterback.