By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Today in As The Tom Brady Turns …
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show, and during the course of that interview, Schefter relayed information passed along to him by fellow ESPNer Jeff Darlington. Schefter said that Darlington told him that the Titans appear to be “the favorite right now” in the Tom Brady Sweepstakes of 2020.
Here’s exactly what Schefter told Eisen:
This is going to be the most interesting question of the offseason. … Jeff Darlington is a lot more connected to that particular situation than I think a lot of people realize. And in talking with him yesterday — and my eyes were opened to this. I mean I always thought this was possible but I got even more of a hint that it’s more possible. Jeff Darlington basically … I mean, handicapped the Titans as the favorite right now. Which I was like, ‘Whoa. OK. I knew that Tennessee was an option,’ but he made it out to be more of an option than I realized it to be.
And in his mind, to rank the teams right now, would be Tennessee, Las Vegas, and New England.
And his explanation on the podcast was very interesting. And so my takeaway from that was, I think we all need to play a little bit more attention to Tennessee here than we thought, and Tennessee is more viable as a potential Tom Brady destination than we thought. And Tennessee, I expect to be in the mix. Las Vegas, I expect to be in the mix. I think the Chargers will try to be in the mix, I don’t know if they’ll be able to get it done.
And the question is, of course, is does he go back to New England?
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 19, 2020
The real interesting one on Tennessee is this. They have Ryan Tannehill. And if you franchise Ryan Tannehill … it’s very hard to go get Tom Brady. I don’t think you can do that. But do you take the risk of not franchising a guy that played like a franchise quarterback last year, and try to get Tom Brady, running the risk that you could lose both? Or do you go ahead and franchise Tannehill, and remove the Brady option off the table, when it certainly sounds like a possibility?
OK, well, nobody cares about the fate of Ryan Tannehill. We care about Tom Brady, dangit.
So, the committed internet reporter that I am, I did the one that nobody evvvvver wants to do: I checked out the man’s podcast.
Here’s precisely what Darlington told Schefter on the podcast, which is thankfully no longer named “The Know Them From Adam Podcast”:
I put the Titans and the Raiders right now as the front-runners for Tom Brady’s services.
Tennessee has to be considered one of the bright spots when you consider what Tom Brady is looking for in free agency, whether it is the team itself and what they possess personnel-wise, whether it’s the ability to potentially collaborate with the head coach and have some say in game planning and personnel, I quite frankly think the Tennessee Titans make a lot of sense for Tom Brady.
If you’re asking me to put odds on this thing, I say Titans and Raiders, and then I say Patriots, and then I put down the list, teams like the Chargers, the Dolphins, and some of those other names. The wild cards. The field. And I would put the Patriots, though, somewhere pretty close — behind though — the Titans and the Raiders, if you’re asking me to put odds on this thing.
I think that that’s something that has been very difficult in my assessment of the reactions — every time I mention this — for sports fans to digest. It’s as if people think it’s so unfathomable that he would leave New England, and as a result they just sit there and say it’s not going to happen. Where we need to wrap our heads around the idea of Tom Brady leaving, because he is considering exactly that. That is not speculation. That is fact. Whether they can get on the same page in the next 30 days — that is the Patriots and Tom Brady — and figure this thing out, and it is a tall task from a number of different levels. Unless they can figure it out in the next 30 days, Tom Brady is gone.
Football-wise, Tennessee has always made the most sense (provided they sign Derrick Henry). The head coach is a boss, he rocks an occasional mustache, and he’s good pals with Brady (Tom used to throw him TDs back when the Patriots really felt like bullying opponents, ya know?). The receiving trio of A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries is solid. The tight ends are good. The line is good. The team has some … moxie.
Lifestyle-wise … the idea of extending the TB12 brand into Nashville is not quite as sexy as, say, Los Angeles, or New York, or Miami, or even Dallas (maybe).
So all of that, when taken together, lands on the scale of being interesting. It doesn’t necessarily advance the story anywhere, as it’s still largely based on reading tea leaves and making an educated guess. Nevertheless, that is where we are on this day, with free agency less than a month away.
Once the NFL cognoscenti descend upon Indianapolis next week for the scouting combine, that’s when we can really start to get hot and heavy in Speculation SZN™.
Until next time, on “As The Tom Brady Turns” …