Patriots

Bedard: Why Tom Brady doesn’t have a new (or old) NFL home by now

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(Adam Richins for BSJ)

Tom Brady waited nearly 20 years for this moment: the chance to talk to other NFL teams about being their starting quarterback.

He may be entering his 43-year-old season, but Brady is still one of the league's best, and he's just one year removed from winning the AFC Championship Game on the road, and his sixth Super Bowl.

So when the NFL's legal tampering period opened at noon on Monday, you figured Brady wouldn't last very long. His agent, Don Yee, had the combine and the time since to gauge the market. They had to have a gameplan and an end-game in mind.

But even before the tampering period came, the best landing spots began to disappear for Brady, and that continued on Monday.

The Titans and old buddy Mike Vrabel spent big money to lock up Ryan Tannehill.

The 49ers, through longtime Kyle Shanahan buddy Chris Simms, let it leak that the 49ers were out on Brady and sticking with with former Brady understudy Jimmy Garoppolo.

Then the Vikings inked Kirk Cousins to an extension that moved him from easily cuttable to no-doubt franchise QB.

The Raiders also signed Marcus Mariota to push Derek Carr at quarterback.

When you were drawing up dream destinations if you were Brady, the order would have been something along the lines of: 49ers and Titans, and then everyone else really, with the Raiders and Chargers likely leading the also-rans.

Now, it should be pointed out that nothing in the contracts of Garoppolo and Carr prevents the 49ers and Raiders from making another run at Brady now that all sides have had a chance to see the lay of the land after Day 1. It could happen.

But, really, Brady's likely options now all have some warts on them: the Buccaneers, Chargers, Dolphins and even some longshots like the Colts, Bears and Bills (if I'm the latter two, I'm definitely making a push for Brady, especially the Bears who were all over the QB market on Monday).

When you're a 43-year-old quarterback whose family and business are a priority, you'd really like more of a plug-and-play option. You wanted to go to a strong contending team to be the final piece to put them over the top and be in the mix for a Super Bowl in Year 1.

That was the 49ers and the Titans. Could be the Bears. That's not exactly the Bucs or Chargers or any of those other teams, although I'm sure many will argue the merits of each.

But, truthfully, this has not been a dream-trip into free agency with stacks of money being thrown at Brady from Super Bowl contenders to this point. Things can and usually do change when it comes to NFL contracts and money, but this is not Brady's ideal scenario.

So what the heck happened?

It has to do with the percentages. And I didn't realize this until I spoke with an informed NFL source who has been involved in the Brady deliberations.