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Ranking 10 potential Tom Brady landing spots in NFL free agency

It’s not yet known whether seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady will return for his 24th season in the NFL. Set to turn 46 in August, Brady saw some regression with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past season.

Even then, rumors suggest that Brady is open to returning. It just might not be with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team put up a disappointing eight-win 2022 campaign.

The future first-ballot Hall of Famer still played like a top-10 signal caller at times last season. He’ll draw a ton of interest in free agency should the veteran opt to hit the open market. Here, we rank the 10-best potential landing spots for Brady this coming March.

Related: Tom Brady and the top 2023 NFL free agents

10. Carolina Panthers

tom brady landing spots nfl free agency
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Could Brady stay in the NFC South? There’s been a ton of speculation linking him to one possibility within the division. But we’re going to go in a different direction here. It’s not yet known who the Panthers’ next head coach is going to be. What we do know is that this offense has a nice amount of talent to entice Brady.

A first-round pick last year, Ikem Ekwonu played well at left tackle as a rookie. He started all 17 games and proved to be a legitimate pass protector. Wide receivers D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. provide solid targets on the outside. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense is among the most-underrated units in the game.

If the Panthers are able to land Sean Payton as their next head coach, this also opens up a path for Brady to head to Charlotte.

9. San Francisco 49ers

There’s been a lot of talk about Brady returning to his native Northern California to close out his career. He grew up a 49ers fan and would love to play close to his childhood home and parents.

We just don’t see this as a real possibility. San Francisco has a young quarterback in Brock Purdy who is in the midst of an historic start to his career. It also exhausted a ton of draft capital to trade up for Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In short, Kyle Shanahan’s squad has no real need for Tom Brady. With that said, it would likely be the most ideal situation for him to close up his career. Can he entice San Francisco? It will be a storyline depending on San Francisco’s status once the NFL Playoffs conclude.

Related: 2023 NFL salary cap situations for all 32 teams

8. New York Jets

New York is almost literally going to move the ground in order to find an upgrade over Zach Wilson at quarterback. Robert Saleh’s squad is coming off a disastrous end to what was a promising season. It has young talent on offense in that of running back Breece Hall and wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

The Jets have been linked to another former NFL MVP in that of Aaron Rodgers in trade talks. But given the Green Bay Packers’ asking price in a deal, it might make sense to see if Jersey could be of interest to Brady.

7. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans was one of the teams linked to Tom Brady once it became a possibility he wouldn’t return to Tampa Bay for the 2023 season. Though, these rumors surrounded a packaged deal with Sean Payton returning to the Bayou.

Now that Payton is likely heading elsewhere after taking last season off, we’re just not seeing it. New Orleans is also in salary cap hell and will have to move off multiple veteran players, including record-breaking wide receiver Michael Thomas. Brady will have much better options out there in NFL free agency should he opt to return in 2023.

Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady snaps after being asked if he’s playing in 2023

6. New York Giants

tom brady landing spots, new york giants
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brady heading to Jersey while working under respected offensive-minded head coach Brian Daboll certainly would be something. Daboll’s scheme seems to fit what the seven-time Super Bowl winner does well.

Though, there’s a couple issues with this potential landing spot. First off, the Giants might very well opt to re-sign young quarterback Daniel Jones after he led them to a surprise playoff appearance this season.

Secondly, New York lacks the weapons to entice Brady. It was a major issue this past season. If the Giants were to go in this direction, they’d need to cut a lot of fat off their salary cap while adding multiple free agents and re-signing dual-threat back Saquon Barkley. In short, the stars would have to align.

5. New England Patriots

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick reuniting with one another? We’ve seen crazier things happen in the recent history of the NFL. New England’s decision to hire Bill O’Brien as its next offensive coordinator after he worked with Brady from 2007-11 also adds another layer to a potential reunion.

Even then, it’s being reported that O’Brien is excited to work with current Patriots quarterback Mac Jones after a down sophomore season for the former Alabama standout. As with Brady, O’Brien has a built-in relationship with Jones dating back to their days together with the Crimson Tide. This is another scenario that seems fun. It just doesn’t make a ton of sense.

4. Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to return as the Dolphins QB1 in 2023 despite going through the concussion protocol three times and missing the end of the 2022 campaign. It’s something that Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel supports.

In no way does this mean things can’t change here in the next several weeks. Tua still has not been cleared to return to football activities. There’s some long-term health concerns there.

From an on-field standpoint, Miami would actually make a ton of sense for Brady. It has two elite-level receivers in that of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The team also boasts a franchise left tackle, Terron Armstead. If Miami can find a true RB1, Brady would absolutely thrive in McDaniel’s system. It also doesn’t hurt that South Beach is close to where the quarterback’s children live.

3. Las Vegas Raiders

tom brady, las vegas raiders
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We now get to the point in the list where logical destinations could be had. Vegas was close to signing Brady ahead of the 2020 season before then-head coach Jon Gruden nixed the deal. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler have a built-in relationship with GOAT dating back to their days together in New England. Vegas will also soon move off longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr via a trade or release.

This actually makes sense on the field for Tom Brady. Despite cming off an ugly 6-11 season, Vegas boasts the skill-position talent the quarterback would want. That includes the potential of teaming up with reigning NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs and All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. Add in what promises to be a ton of cap room for the Raiders to improve in free agency, and this is a marriage that could very well work.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders preparing to be in play to sign Tom Brady this offseason

2. Indianapolis Colts

We have no idea who is going to be coaching the Colts next season. Frank Reich was fired in-season and replaced by an interim man in Jeff Saturday who had no experience at the high school level. It proved to be a complete dumpster fire.

Perhaps, this would be seen as good thing for Mr. Brady. Starting anew with a head coach and offensive coordinator could work well.

Indianapolis also has some nice foundational pieces on offense in that of tackle Braden Smith, guard Quenton Nelson, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and former NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor. It also doesn’t hurt that the Colts could have upwards of $35 million in cap room once they decide what to do with fellow quarterback Matt Ryan.

1. Tennessee Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We saw how fielding the NFL’s 32nd-best ranked rush offense led to frustration on the part of Tom Brady a season ago. We also know that current Titans running back Derrick Henry is a multi-time rushing champion. In and of itself, this could be enticing to the veteran quarterback. Now add in the presence of Brady’s former teammate Mike Vrabel as Tennessee’s head coach, and this is magnified further.

Once the Titans ultimately move off Ryan Tannehill and others, they should have a nice amount of cap room to find Brady some targets on offense. They also boast a solid offensive line and an extremely underrated defense. This is a landing spot that makes a ton of sense for Mr. Brady.

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