Jan 6, 2020

Tom Brady, the free agent

Kendall Baker, author of Sports

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Two decades of brilliance and unthinkable levels of success — for Tom Brady, for Bill Belichick, for the Patriots and for the city of Boston — may have come to an end on Saturday night.

Why it matters: Brady will be a free agent this offseason for the first time in his illustrious career, giving way to a winter of speculation about whether the soon-to-be 43-year-old is done in New England — or done with football, period.

"The fog hung in the air and swathed the field of Gillette Stadium, muting the colors and making you think, inevitably, of ghosts. It all felt like ... the past. Until the Tennessee Titans yanked [it] so powerfully into the present."
— Sally Jenkins, WashPost

In his postgame press conference, Brady didn't sound like someone who had just played his last game. "I would say it's pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely," he said when asked if he plans to retire. So odds are he's back in the NFL next year. But crazier things have happened.

  • In a bizarre twist, Saturday's game ending in a pick-6 may have been the best thing that happened to New England all night, as Brady doesn't seem like the type to go out like that. But again, who knows?

What he's saying: "I just don't know what is going to happen. I'm not going to predict it," said Brady in his final answer of his final press conference this season.

  • "No one needs to make choices at this point. I love playing football. ... I love playing for this team for two decades and winning a lot of games. Again, I don't know what it looks like moving forward, so we'll take it day by day."

The bottom line: At no point this century has the thought of Brady changing teams felt even remotely plausible. Now, the odds are 3/2, with the Chargers getting some early buzz — an outcome my brain won't even let me process.

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