With the NFL trade deadline approaching, the rumor mill is aflame with crazy ideas. On the surface, one such idea seems no crazier than ESPN’s about the New England Patriots trading Tom Brady to the Houston Texans. Though the season started slowly for the Patriots, Brady and Co. now stand 5-2 and atop the AFC East.
So why would ESPN even think the Patriots trading Tom Brady to the Texans makes sense? Because a precedent has been set with great quarterbacks, and the Patriots are a bit of a Machiavellian team.
Great quarterbacks have been ditched by their sentimental “home” teams in the past. Joe Montana left the 49ers for the Chiefs. Randall Cunningham spent time with the Vikings, Cowboys and Ravens. Warren Moon left the Vikings and went to the Seahawks. Even the Patriots’ own Drew Bledsoe was jettisoned to Buffalo for a first-round draft pick.
Certainly things to think about before you say ESPN’s piece is crazy. As the article points out, even one current NFL general manager said of the Brady trade idea: “It actually makes too much sense.”
ESPN’s article goes on to explore the salary cap implications, which pencil out surprisingly well. It also discusses how Texans coach Bill O’Brien is a big Brady fan.
Perhaps most telling, the article says that members of the New England organization feel that Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the Patriots drafted in the second round this year, might be a suitable replacement if the whole Patriots trading Tom Brady to the Texans storyline played out.
Now, are we likely to see Brady traded this season? Probably not. But Brady’s days in New England are definitely numbered, whether due to natural age-related means or Bill Belichick’s cold-hearted need to win. It would certainly be better for New England to maximize its return on a Brady trade by unloading him while he’s got something left in the tank. The question, then, is just how long much longer that tank will stay full.