According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s representation, Don Yee and Carter Chow, have reportedly met with the Indianapolis Colts among other teams at the NFL Combine this week:
That seems to be inching closer toward becoming a reality. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday Brady’s representation is meeting with clubs this week during the NFL Scouting Combine, and the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts are among those clubs.
This report comes the same day after ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported that there’s a growing sense that the legendary longtime Patriots quarterback will shockingly leave New England in free agency.
While Brady’s agents meeting with other clubs before he’s formally a free agent could be considered tampering right now, it appears the NFL and teams are willing to look away.
The Colts have a projected $86.2 million of cap space, so really anything could happen regarding a top free agent—if the franchise so chooses. While general manager Chris Ballard has shown a reluctance to spend top free agent dollars in the past, he recently stated that he thinks the Colts locker room is ready to welcome a big name free agent.
Of course, Colts fans know Brady all too well.
He—along with Patriots coach Bill Belichick were the Colts arch-nemesis during the “Peyton Manning era” of Colts football—and later even knocked out Andrew Luck’s Colts during the 2014 AFC Championship Game (which later sparked the national “Deflate-Gate” controversy).
Brady’s arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL, but to say there’s a lot of history (and bad blood) between him and the Colts would be an understatement.
Now 42, Brady is coming off a down season for his normally elite standards, in which he completed 373 of 613 passes (60.8%) for 4,057 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a passer rating of 88.0 in all 16 starts.
In his 21st NFL season, Brady is probably no longer the elite quarterback he once was—and probably has lost a little zip from his “best fastball”, but he would still be an upgrade to Colts incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett.
Brady didn’t put up great numbers in New England last year, as even with
sith lord head coach Bill Belichick once again anchoring his coaching staff, he just didn’t have the necessary weapons or offensive firepower that he’s been accustomed to.
In Indianapolis, Brady would have a Top 5 offensive line, Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton, potentially another wide receiver acquisition (either early through the draft or maybe veteran free agent A.J. Green in this scenario—maybe both), and a quarterback friendly head coach: Frank Reich.
Given his other ‘flashy’ suitors and his frosty relationship with Indianapolis, the small market Colts may be the least likely of the three to actually land Brady, but he’d be an immediate upgrade and a stopgap that the franchise could seriously contend with in 2020 (if they make the other necessary improvements on the roster this offseason).
However, it still might be very well prudent for the Colts to look to draft a top quarterback to develop for a year or two behind Brady regardless.
Now in the twilight of his playing career, the 6x Super Bowl Champion, 3x MVP, 5x All-Pro, and 14x Pro Bowler could make for one great mentor—if he was up to the challenge.
Hard feelings aside, signing Brady would make a whole lot of sense for the Colts—if fans can actually stomach it.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Colts interest in fact grows more legs.
UPDATE (10:58 AM EST):
Per The Athletic’s Stephen Holder (subscription), a league source has denied that the Colts have actually met with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s representation yet:
“Regarding New England quarterback Tom Brady, a report from NFL.com said the Colts were among several teams to meet with Brady’s representatives here in Indianapolis,” Holder writes. “But a league source strongly denied the Colts have engaged in any discussions with Brady’s camp. The source said such a story was ‘made up.’”
That being said, if this latest report is true, it doesn’t mean that the Colts won’t meet with Brady’s camp eventually. It just means that they haven’t yet currently.
This is the time of year where the Colts will be linked to a lot of top free agents because they have a ton of cap space and a few obvious holes—such as at starting quarterback.