In Week 4, all eyes in the NFL will be on Tom Brady as he leads his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, into Foxborough to face his former team, the New England Patriots, for the first time in 20 years.
That chapter of the story has already concluded, with Brady’s departure from the Patriots for South Florida. But what if things had gone differently?
It was almost there. In a San Francisco 49ers uniform, to be precise. After the Niners lost the 2019 Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN reporter Seth Wickersham claims Brady called one of his former favorite targets, Wes Welker, in his new book, It’s Better to Be Feared.
According to an NBC Sports Bay Area report detailed in a September 30 article about the book, Brady told Welker, now the 49ers’ wide receivers coach, that the six-time Super Bowl winner would finish his career in the Bay Area if the 49ers were interested.
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Brady Wanted $50 Million 2-Year Deal: Report
Brady’s demands to relocate to California weren’t outrageous.
“According to the book, Brady scribbled a list of 20 or so characteristics he wanted from his new team. His contract demand was deemed reasonable: two years for $50 million, according to NBC Sports. Brady’s request didn’t come with many conditions, either.
Brady, who grew up as a 49ers fan in San Mateo, California, told Welker that if his hometown team wanted him, there would be “no free-agency tour, no bidding war, full stop; he would end his career where his love of football began, in scarlet and gold, allowing his parents to drive to (his) games for the first time since the 1990s,” according to NBC Sports. “A source confirms to NBC Sports Bay Area that the 49ers were made aware of Brady’s preference, and the organization was initially skeptical, as reported in the book,” the report continued. ”
The following may be painful for 49ers fans.
According to the report, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan asked each of his offensive assistant coaches to watch and evaluate all of Brady’s pass attempts from the 2019 season. While on vacation in Mexico, Shanahan did the same. NBC Sports Bay Area wrote, “According to the book, the 49ers coaches merely liked Brady’s film and concluded that Brady was only marginally better than Garoppolo at that stage of both men’s careers.” If it’s difficult to imagine Brady’s game tape not blowing Garoppolo’s out of the water, keep in mind the timeframe.
Brady was coming off a down year in 2019; Garoppolo wasn’t.
If it’s difficult to imagine Brady’s game tape not blowing Garoppolo’s out of the water, keep in mind the timeframe.
“In his first full season as a starter, Garoppolo ranked fourth in franchise history with 3,978 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. NBC Sports Bay Area reported that “his 1 completion percentage was third all-time among 49ers quarterbacks in a single season, trailing only Hall of Famers Steve Young and Joe Montana.” Brady, on the other hand, was coming off one of his least productive years. When his final season in New England ended, he was 42 years old, and “his completion percentage was down to 60.” His score is 8, and his is 6. “His passer rating and QBR were at or near the bottom of his career,” according to NBC Sports. “His 8 yards per attempt was his lowest since 2006, and his passer rating and QBR were at or near the bottom of his career.”
In the end, the 49ers passed on Brady, who is 15 years older than Garoppolo at 44 years old.
The rest is history, even if there is still more to come.
In his first year with the Buccaneers, Brady led the team to a Super Bowl victory over the Chiefs. This year, the Buccaneers are Super Bowl contenders, if not outright favorites. Meanwhile, Garoppolo suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 of Brady’s Super Bowl-winning season, and he only played in six games in 2020, after missing 23 games in his first three seasons in the Bay Area.
Fast forward to this offseason, when the 49ers traded two future first-round draft picks and a third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins to move up nine spots in the draft and select Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick. Only time will tell if the Niners were correct in their decision.
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