Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years, I’m rockin’ my peers, puttin’ suckers in fear…
Those lyrics by LL Cool J could be the anthem for one Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. After his apparent retirement just a few weeks ago, it now appears he might not be done after all. If you ask Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, he’s confident that Brady will be under center for an NFL team in 2022. But it might not be the team most expect.
I’ve said it on PFT Live or #PFTPM or both. It made more of a stir than I thought it would, because I thought it would make none. So let me say it here. I think Tom Brady will play for the 49ers in 2022.
It shouldn’t really surprise anyone. What have we heard over and over regarding Brady’s football career? What more does he have to prove? Nothing. But he has never played for the team he grew up rooting for. And that team — the 49ers — has a Super Bowl-ready roster. Just add quarterback.”
Florio certainly makes valid points, but the 49ers had the opportunity to bring Brady home to the Bay Area two years ago and opted to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo. Since then, the Niners have traded multiple draft picks for the right to move up and select Trey Lance in last year’s draft as their QB of the future. So, now after Lance barely touched the field in his rookie season, San Francisco is going to go out and sign a 44-year-old Brady, relegating Trey to the bench for yet another season?
Sure, anything could happen, but I just don’t see this scenario being one of them. Yes, the Niners are Brady’s childhood team, but they reportedly passed on him in 2020 because he was “only marginally better than Garoppolo,” at the time. And now, just a couple of years later, Brady will go play for the same coaching staff that doubted his abilities.
Childhood team be damned, I don’t think it happens.
It’s possible Brady’s announcement, all the kind words, and goodbyes were nothing more than a way to get out of Tampa Bay. According to reports, the relationship between Brady and Bucs head coach Bruce Arians began to sour, and the honeymoon phase was over. If Brady suddenly pops up in a Niners uniform in August, this potential pairing has another storyline outside of Brady going home.
What would this say about Trey Lance if Kyle Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch bring Brady onboard? Should Tom come in, that would mean Lance sits for another year because we know Brady doesn’t give up snaps to anybody. Lance hasn’t played an entire season of football since 2019 due to the pandemic. Trey played one game at North Dakota State in 2020 and started two games his rookie year for the Niners filling in for Jimmy G. So, he’s seen real-time action in barely a handful of games over the past couple of years. Now the 49ers could possibly bring in Brady so Lance can sit for another year. I just don’t think this is a likely outcome.
I’m not saying Brady is done; I just don’t feel like the Brady to San Francisco narrative is all that plausible. Football players get better by playing football. After all the assets San Francisco gave up in acquiring Lance, bringing in another veteran (not to mention the GOAT) might do more harm than anything. It’s also rare for a team to trade valuable draft capital so they can move up to draft a QB, then let him sit on the bench for more than a year (Green Bay Packers excluded). Lance needs to be playing and taking all the first-team snaps in practice. None of that happens if Tom Brady comes to town.