Tom Brady’s situation, free agency rumors, Taysom Hill and more


Tom Brady’s landing spot is the NFL’s biggest offseason story, and the rumors are flying in regard to his eventual contract and the courtships ahead.

Tom Brady would never admit it, but he’s loving the drama.

Brady has always been a fixture for the New England Patriots. In 21 years on the team, he’s never seriously approached free agency. He’s often taken sweetheart deals and acquiesced to head coach Bill Belichick, perhaps the game’s only current legend bigger than himself.

It’s well known Brady has bristled in recent years. Spend 21 years with anybody — especially a superior — and hard feelings develop. Now, he’s about to hit free agency and there are rumors abound about him potentially leaving.

Brady has to be smirking. Just look at his Hulu spot.

In the last two weeks, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer has been linked to the Las Vegas Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers. All the while Brady and his current employer have reportedly had no progress in their own dialogue.

Whether Brady actually leaves New England or not is completely unknown, but therein lies the point. Nobody knows what the 42-year-old quarterback is thinking. Including the Patriots, who without him, can officially watch their dynasty become a relic.

With the mystery surrounding Brady’s future in full swing, potential suitors can become hopeful. The Raiders are reportedly set to offer him two years and $60 million. The Chargers, who can’t sell tickets in their new stadium, desperately need a draw. Brady is easily worth $30 million per year to them. The Cowboys make no sense on paper — Dak Prescott is currently the better player and is 16 years younger — but Jerry Jones loves stars. It’s at least a pipe dream.

Of course, the rumors are fun. Brady has Belichick uncomfortable for the first time in his life. Must be nice after two-plus decades of the roles being reversed.

Still, smart money has New England and Brady figuring something out. The Patriots have the cap space to match any offer. They also have the only infrastructure Brady has ever known, including owner Robert Kraft, a man who is almost a second father to the California native.

Additionally, Brady knows New England offers him the best chance to win a seventh title.

The biggest sticking point is Brady’s supporting cast. The Patriots need to add a few weapons, and after signing Brady it won’t be easy (more on this below). New England may bring in some veterans on one-year deals and then add through the draft, but it’s very likely there won’t be any high-priced acquisitions.

Ultimately, Brady has every reason to let this situation play out. Wait until the tampering period begins on March 16, and his price only goes up with the ensuing bidding war.

The Patriots know this as well, and so the question must be asked: will the team give Brady a soft deadline to re-sign, knowing a protracted free agency could cost it both money and more importantly, other free agents of its own?

The drama surrounding Brady is raging. Understandably, nobody loves it more than him.

Power rankings

Top 10 left-handed quarterbacks of all time

1. Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers
2. Kenny Stabler, Oakland Raiders
3. Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals
4. Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons
5. Jim Zorn, Seattle Seahawks
6. Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars
7. Frankie Albert, San Francisco 49ers
8. Scott Mitchell, Detroit Lions
9. Bobby Douglass, Chicago Bears
10. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos


"“Tyrod Taylor is a heck of a quarterback. We couldn’t have a better backup right now, and now he has an opportunity to maybe step up into a starting role. I’ve had Tyrod before [in Buffalo], and I know what this young man brings to the table, in the passing game and the running game.”"

– Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn on the team’s quarterback situation

After moving on from Philip Rivers last week, the Chargers are beginning a new era.

While Lynn talked glowingly of Taylor, he’s likely a backup come Week 1. No disrespect to the veteran, but he’s not selling tickets as the team moves into SoFi Stadium come September.

As mentioned above, the Chargers desperately need a major attraction. Brady would be the perfect fit, worth any price.

If Brady can’t be reeled in, Los Angeles general manager Tom Telesco must pivot towards the draft. Justin Herbert is a projected top-10 pick from the Pac-12. He’s not Brady, but he’ll generate interest. Tua Tagovailoa would do the same, although if healthy, the Chargers may need to trade up for his services.

Regardless, with Rivers gone, the Chargers have to be aggressive with both wins and tickets on their collective mind.


With the offseason underway, host Mark Carman, analyst Matt Verderame and former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will have a new, hour-long episode every other week to break down all the happenings around the league!

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Random stat

The Los Angeles Rams are the only team allocating at least 50 percent of their projected salary cap for their five most-expensive players this season.

Info learned this week

1. Veteran movement begins as teams shake up rosters, eye new league year

Tony Jefferson. Josh Norman. Philip Rivers. Greg Olsen. The names are coming quicker now.

On Friday, the Baltimore Ravens released Jefferson after three years of service.

While Jefferson continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered in October, sources tell FanSided he’s received significant interest around the league over the past week. However, Jefferson is highly unlikely to sign prior to the start of free agency, weighing all his options.

With Ravens safety Chuck Clark earning an extension earlier in the week, Jefferson became expendable for Baltimore. The $7 million freed up could (and should) be used to give Lamar Jackson better targets.

Down the interstate, the Washington Redskins also moved on from Norman and wide receiver Paul Richardson. Norman, 32, is clearly on the downside. He’ll likely be signing a one-year prove-it deal. Richardson is only 27 years old, but he only played in 17 games over two seasons with Washington. He’ll be in a similar position to Norman.

With Rivers and Olsen, neither are free to officially sign until March 18 when the new league year starts. However, the Chargers and Carolina Panthers announced they’re going in a new direction. Olsen has already visited with the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Redskins.

The movement suggests teams are beginning to look towards 2020, figuring out their cap situations. Clubs can start using the franchise tag on Feb. 25, with the free-agency tampering period beginning on March 16. All teams must be cap compliant by March 18 at 4 p.m. ET.

2. Thuney expected to hit free agency after stellar New England stint

According to a source, the Patriots are not expected to sign guard Joe Thuney prior to the start of free agency. Thuney, 27, has started every game of his four-year career in Foxborough while playing all over the line, and now looks to cash in as the best available guard this offseason.

GOING DEEP: Thuney likely to hit open market, source tells FanSided

While New England would undoubtedly like to keep him around, the cap crunch is real. The Patriots are projected to have $46 million in space, but should Brady return, two-thirds of that figure could disappear. Belichick’s club also has other high-profile free agents including linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, safety Devin McCourty, receiver Phillip Dorsett and others.

Should Thuney get to the market as expected, he’ll have a bevy of suitors.

3. Taysom Hill fever is weird but worth monitoring

The most talked-about free agent quarterback this past week? Not Brady. Not Rivers.

Taysom Hill.

Yes, the 29-year-old career backup with the New Orleans Saints has received major buzz from multiple outlets. Former Saints special teams coach Mike Westhoff claimed Hill is a better thrower than Lamar Jackson. The former BYU standout is a restricted free agent, and head coach Sean Payton believes a team could make an offer to Hill, even if he’s given a first-round tender.

The question now must be asked… why?

Hill has completed 6-of-13 passes for 147 yards and an interception in his career. While everyone raves about his performance in the NFC Wild Card round against the Minnesota Vikings, Hill ran for 50 yards, threw for 50 yards and caught two passes for 25 yards. Exciting? Sure. Worthy of a first-round pick? No.

If a team surrenders a first-round pick for Hill, it will be one of the biggest gambles in NFL history.

4. Texans have full license to be aggressive in free agency

Bill O’Brien seems to have cart blanche in Houston. He might as well use it.

After trading away the Texans’ 2020 and ’21 first-round picks for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, O’Brien essentially declared Houston was all-in last season. Houston won the AFC South and a playoff game before being rudely bounced by the Kansas City Chiefs, 51-31. Now, the Texans are without significant draft capital but are loaded with $64 million in cap space.

For O’Brien, the only way to close the gap between Houston and the AFC’s elite is free agency. The Texans are the beneficiaries of an income tax-free state and having had recent success with a dynamic, young quarterback. It’s an attractive free-agent destination. O’Brien should target secondary help early and often, bolstering the league’s 28th-ranked defense.

For years, the Texans have been talented but underwhelming. Free agency can often be fool’s gold, but without early draft picks Houston has to take big swings.

5. This is the final week of offseason inactivity

The league calendar says free agency starts on March 16. That’s a lie.

Free agency really begins on Feb. 24 when 32 teams and every agent descend on Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. While nobody can admit to it for obvious reasons, the backchanneling and whispers will have projections and baseless speculation turning into real rumors — and in some cases deals that can’t be reported — by the time everybody heads back home.

With all those personalities in a city perfectly set up for meetings over steaks and wine at Prime 47 and St. Elmo’s Steak House, conversations will be had. Technically wrong? Maybe, but if teams and agents weren’t probing, they’d be doing a terrible job.

Right now, little is known about the free-agent landscape. One week from now, that’ll change rapidly.

History lesson

The 1972 Miami Dolphins famously went undefeated, the only such team in NFL history.

Shockingly, they played the AFC Championship Game on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. League rules of the time based home-field advantage on a rotating schedule, something that was changed in 1975.

This wasn’t the league’s first time with this problem. In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys hosted the Green Bay Packers despite having the worse record. Green Bay won anyway to advance into Super Bowl I. Two years later, the 13-3 Baltimore Colts visited the Cleveland Browns, beating them 34-0 before being shocked in Super Bowl III by the New York Jets.

The last instance was in 1973, with the Vikings beating the Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

In a twist of justice, the team with the better record on the road never lost a conference title game in the Super Bowl era.

Parting shot

The Buffalo Bills have a pivotal offseason ahead.

Last year, general manager Brandon Beane was aggressive in free agency. Buffalo landed receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley along with tight end Tyler Kroft and center Mitch Morse. The returns were largely terrific, and the Bills went 10-6 and earned their second playoff berth in three years.

If Beane wants Buffalo to reach the same point — and higher — in 2020, the Bills need to significantly improve.

Last season, Buffalo beat a litany of bad teams. The best wins? At Dallas and in Tennessee when Marcus Mariota was still starting. This year, the Bills play what appears to be a gauntlet. Home dates with the Chiefs, Steelers, Rams and Seahawks. Road contests against the 49ers and Titans. Then there’s two tilts with New England.

Luckily for the Bills, they have cap space. Buffalo can still add pieces and should be trying to fortify the offensive line, find another receiver and build upon an already terrific defense.

Buffalo has the coaching staff. It has a intriguing quarterback in Josh Allen. It has a good roster.

But if the Bills want to avoid the fate Chicago suffered last year and Jacksonville the year before it, improvements must be made.