Tom Brady is one of the world’s most accomplished athletes, but the 43-year old future Hall of Famer isn’t above adding some more weight to that chip on his shoulder. During an appearance on HBO’s “The Shop,” Brady reflected on his first pro experience away from New England last offseason.
“There was a story in free agency, one of the teams they were interested, then all of a sudden they weren’t interested at the very end,” Brady recounted. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘You’re sticking with that mother (expletive)?’ Are you serious?”
Brady added that it “absolutely” wasn’t a team he wanted to join, but instead a club working to recruit him until they backed out. This is relevant to the New Orleans Saints because multiple outlets have reported extensive, mutual interest between Brady and New Orleans when he entered free agency; it was reported throughout the 2020 season that the Saints were Brady’s preferred destination, and he was their ideal replacement plan for Drew Brees. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington was the latest to breathlessly repeat the story.
He declined to name names, but later in the interview Brady suggested the team stuck with an incumbent quarterback who failed to lead his team to the playoffs in recent years — putting an uncomfortable spotlight on Derek Carr’s Raiders (whose relationship with Jon Gruden runs hot and cold) and Mitchell Trubisky’s Bears (replaced this spring by Andy Dalton and Justin Fields).
“I look back, I’m like, there’s no (expletive) way I would have went to that team,” Brady continued. “But they said they didn’t want me, and I know what that means. I know what that feels like and I’m going to (expletive) you up because of that.” The Buccaneers lost narrowly to the Bears 20-19 before running the Raiders off the field a few weeks later, 45-20.
While some fans and media observers on social media jumped to link the Saints to Brady’s comments, even a little research takes New Orleans off of his radar. It’s true that there was real interest between the two parties, but the circumstances were very different from what Brady described.
If Brees hadn’t backed out of his retirement plans at the last minute, Brady probably signs with New Orleans. The Saints just weren’t in a position to tell Brees, “Thanks, but no thanks,” when he returned to defend his legacy before Brady could take his job and run away with it. They were always going to let him leave on his own terms. Let’s see if Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill can lead the team in his absence, with Brady waiting to push them across the division.