The New England Patriots are fast approaching one of the toughest decisions in sports.
Bill Belichick, one of the greatest coaches of all time, will need to decide what to do with Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Brady is 39 years old and hasn’t showed any signs of slowing. But Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract doesn’t last forever and if the Patriots believe he’s the quarterback of the future, Belichick might have to nudge Brady out of the starting role once the franchise gives Garoppolo starting money.
Such is the argument made by Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com:
The night Garoppolo was drafted and Belichick mentioned Brady’s age and contract situation, the endgame was underway. It’s taking a little longer to arrive because Brady has beaten back the Garoppolo challenge with the best football of his life, but that’s probably the only reason the Patriots haven’t pulled the ripcord already.
The Patriots don’t necessarily trade a starter when his backup is better than him. They trade a starter when — in a season or two — the backup will be cheaper, approximately as good and the starter yields a return in a trade.
It seems crazy to think the Patriots wouldn’t let a legend like Brady run his desired course. At the least, it seems crazy to think they wouldn’t pay whatever it takes to keep Garoppolo on the roster, even if he acts as a backup for a few more years.
But then we recall we’re talking about Belichick. He doesn’t come across as the most sentimental guy and usually does whatever it takes to win. Meaning, as soon as he gets a hint Brady is slipping, he might do what is best for the team and make the change.
Maybe Brady goes along with it, going out on top. Maybe he embraces a backup role or even finds himself asking for a trade. But Curran is right more than fans will want to admit—the Patriots are fast approaching a legacy-defining situation with no great answer in sight.