Would The Patriots Ever Trade Tom Brady?

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Joe Clark, Sports Writer

Following Tom Brady’s four game suspension afterDeflategate, the New England Patriots are sitting at 2-0 following the emergence of backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (42-60, 498 yds, 4 TD). This leads to the question-Would the Patriots ever consider trading Tom Brady? Make no mistake about it-Brady is the face of the Patriots franchise and has been since winning first of his four superbowls in 2002.  he just turned 39 years old, and the Patriots did spend a 2nd round pick on Garoppolo in 2014. They saw something in him that led them to take him over the likes of Jarvis Landry, Justin Britt, John Brown, Donte Moncrief, and Richard Rodgers. Despite that, would they dare consider trading arguably the greatest player to ever take the field?

On September 23rd, 2001, Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe scampered for 8 yards before getting hit out of bounds by Jets LB Mo Lewis. Three plays later, Tom Brady entered the game and 7 months later Drew Bledsoe found himself playing for the Buffalo Bills. That trade is an interesting one to look at when examining whether the Patriots would trade Brady. In exchange for Bledsoe, the Patriots received the 14th overall pick from the Bills (Which they later traded, along with a 6th round pick to move up one spot to pick Ty Warren).

At that point in Bledsoe’s career, he had thrown for over 29,000 yards, to go along with 166 TD and 138 INT. He had a turnover problem, leading the league in INTs in 1994 with 27 (he also led the league in yards that year, throwing for 4,555 yards). He never threw less than 13 INTs  in his time with the Pats. The year before he got hurt, the Patriots went 5-11.  They were 0-2 after a loss to the Jets the game he did get hurt (Brady led them to an 11-3 record the rest of the way and an eventual Super Bowl win over the Rams). Bledsoe was only 29 when the Pats traded him to the Bills, which is a good 10 years younger than Brady is now.

Brady  has more of a pedigree than Bledsoe, as in his career he’s thrown for 58,028 yards with 428 TD and 150 INT, in addition to making 11 Pro Bowls, winning 2 MVPs, and 4 Super Bowls. There would be obvious interest for Brady if he was going to be traded, but from what teams? For one, his hometown San Francisco 49ers would have plenty of interest. As much as the Niners believe Blaine Gabbert is the answer at QB, he simply isn’t talented enough to be a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. The 49ers are all but guaranteed to have a top 5 pick this season, and with DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, Myles Garrett, and Leonard Fournette likely to be available, that is an extremely valuable pick. If the Patriots were to trade Brady, it wouldn’t be for anything less than at least 2 first round picks. Here would be the problem for the 49ers: They don’t have a great roster around Brady, but the addition of Brady to an offense that includes Carlos Hyde and Torrey Smith could make them at least a 9 win team, if not more. But would they want a few extra wins at the cost of missing out on a guy like Kizer, who has drawn comparisons to Steve McNair, or Watson who’s drawn comparisons to Marcus Mariota? Brady could retire within the next three seasons, and the 49ers would be guaranteed one of these guys for a minimum of five years on, at least for the position, a dirt cheap contract instead of paying Brady $28m guaranteed. It just wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Niners to try to compete for a year or two instead of building around a young QB and trying to contend the way the Patriots are now.

Another team with interest would be the Denver Broncos, who are currently rolling with Trevor Siemian at QB. While Siemian has been ok so far, adding Brady to a Broncos team that won the Super Bowl last year would make them the instant favorite to repeat. Any other QB-needy team (like the Browns)  would be foolish to trade anything for Brady because despite his talent, the lack of talent on the roster around him wouldn’t help them compete.

In conclusion, there is no way the Patriots trade Tom Brady. No team would want to give up what he’s worth, and if they did give up what he’s worth, they’d end up making their team worse. The more likely scenario is the Patriots try to move Garoppolo for a 1st rounder, but finding a QB-needy team willing to give up a 1st would be tough. Trading him for an early 2nd would make sense to me, just so they don’t get stuck with him leaving in free agency like the Broncos did with Brock Osweiler.  If they decide to hold onto him then they’ll have an NFL ready replacement for when Brady decides to retire. The way he’s played so far this season shows that with a good roster around him, he could help the Patriots contend for a playoff spot for years to come.