BOSTON (CBS) — Several great NFL quarterbacks have left their teams near the end of their careers in the free agency era – and as Peyton Manning and Brett Favre showed, they can still play well elsewhere. Even Joe Montana left the 49ers after four championships … Could Tom Brady eventually become the latest example?
Ask radio host Colin Cowherd, and he will tell you it is inevitable.
Cowherd, who also recently said “Brady doesn’t love [Bill] Belichick” when speaking about the quarterback/coach relationship in New England, doesn’t see the partnership lasting forever in New England. While it’s not surprising that Brady and Belichick aren’t best friends, Cowherd believes Brady’s loyalty to the Patriots will not last forever and at some point, Belichick’s staff will do what the Colts, Packers, and 49ers did with their Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks.
“[The Colts, Packers and 49ers] were not paralyzed knowing that Peyton, Brett and Joe would succeed elsewhere – briefly, but succeed elsewhere, because of their age. … What they did is, they loved Andrew Luck and they loved Steve Young, and they loved Aaron Rodgers. … In a couple of years, [Bill] Belichick can’t get paralyzed – and I’m sure he won’t – by, ‘Well, what if Tom goes and wins a bunch of games and … he’s going to [win elsewhere]. If you wait until the very end, it’s too late. To get rid of a legendary quarterback, you have to let go of him while he still has wins, stats and production left. When you let go of Peyton Manning, OK, he’s going win other places. Get over it … you’ve just got to get over it. Do you like the next guy?”
Watch Cowherd’s full reaction in the video above. As for the “next guy” in New England, Cowherd ostensibly believes that Jimmy Garoppolo can be the next Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, or Andrew Luck and prove a worthy successor to Brady. That could have Brady, who wants to play well into his 40’s, leaving New England and playing elsewhere even before his contract expires after 2019.
“When I look at the New England Patriots’ situation, it’s like, ‘OK, it’s all about Garoppolo.’ If I’m into him, I let Tom go [in a] year, two years, and know he’s going to go somewhere and he’s going to win,” he said. “Because he’s going do, by the way, what Peyton Manning did. He’s going to have a free agent tour … Tom Brady’s going to go out there and say, ‘Who wants me? I’m going to play two more years, I’m going to make 20 million bucks, who wants me?'”
Cowherd adds that Brady will go to a team with a good roster, regardless of location. But he cites one of the league’s biggest, most high-profile locations – Dallas – as a “perfect” landing spot for Brady as a free agent. The Cowboys have an elite offensive line and talented skill players like Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott, which would have Brady in a great situation to run the offense.
“What’s the only way you could get under New England’s skin? Go to Dallas, be on TV nine times a year,” Cowherd joked.
He added that Brady’s inevitable departure from the Patriots will come after winning at least one more championship. “New England’s built to win the championship this year,” he said.
Cowherd nonetheless believes strongly in Belichick’s ability to get rid of Brady earlier rather than later, which he has done with many players in his Patriots tenure. “[Belichick’s] gotten rid of great players. He’ll get rid of Brady!” he proclaimed.