At the tender age of 40, Tom Brady played so well that he was named the NFL’s MVP for the third time in his career. With a quarterback that is playing that well, the New England Patriots don’t really need to be worrying about finding Brady’s eventual replacement. Brady’s always talked about playing into his 40s, he looks great, he’s playing greater.
Why worry about locating his successor?
The Patriots should worry because the end comes for every player eventually—even Tom Brady. From some of his recent comments, it sounds like he may be thinking about it (a little).
First came the ‘sooner rather than later’ comment to Oprah. Essentially, its as harmless as comments can be. All it does is refer to some future time but doesn’t say when. But then there was the comment on ESPN’s Instagram post referencing Brady’s Oprah comments.
According to the comment, the magic number is cuarenta y cinco, or 45. Assuming Brady can stay healthy, that means another five years.
Again—why worry about finding a successor when you have five years? Well—because maybe you don’t.
Just because Brady wants to play that long doesn’t mean his body is going to cooperate, regardless of whatever plan his trainer has him on. Now that retirement has clearly crossed his mind, some would say he’s better off walking away. Once you think about it, your mind is not going to be as invested in playing as it should be.
He says 45 now, but next season it could just as easily become 43 or 42.
His apparent willingness to retire if the Patriots traded Rob Gronkowski could also be a red flag. But that is not the only red flag. In May he made a comment, via the Boston Globe, while making an appearance at the Milken Institute Global Conference:
“I’ve talked two years with my wife,” he said. “I’ve negotiated that thus far, [but] I’ve still got a little further to go.”
Nothing can change a man’s mind faster than a nudge from his wife and kids. Depending on how strong that nudge gets, there is no telling how long he could last.
With all that in mind, should the New England Patriots find a successor sooner rather than later? Absolutely. Do they need to trade for one? Not necessarily– that is, unless Brady starts to talk about retirement a little more often.
For now, they are probably safe. But Brian Hoyer is not the quarterback of the future. It is highly unlikely Danny Etling will be either. However, if they don’t draft someone within the next two years then trading for someone will become an option.