The report from Adam Schefter deeming the Tennessee Titans as a top contender for Tom Brady has rekindled all the talk and speculation about the future Hall of Famer wearing two-tone blue in 2020.
The talk was initially sparked when Brady and the New England Patriots visited Nashville last summer and people saw the chumminess of Brady and Titans head coach on display in the joint practice sessions.
The speculation stayed quiet throughout the regular season, especially after Ryan Tannehill helped revive a dormant Titans offense over the second half of the season and led the team all the way to the AFC Championship Game, dispensing with Brady and the Pats among others in the playoffs.
But with Tannehill also a free agent, his return cannot be guaranteed until he signs on the dotted line or the Titans pull out the franchise tag.
So when there were false rumors circulating a couple of weeks ago that Brady and Giselle Bundschen were school shopping in Nashville, the embers of the Brady talk sparked once again for a moment.
Now, Schefter’s speculation on a podcast has the Brady blaze roaring against in regards to the Titans.
There are a few questions to be answered as far as whether Brady or Tannehill would be the better fit in Tennessee with Arthur Smith and the offense.
As for career numbers and performance, there is no comparison. In fact, no one compares to Brady’s six Super Bowl victories. But Tannehill is 12 years younger and coming off a career year in 2019 where he completed 70 percent of his passes, threw for 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, while averaging an off-the-charts 9.6 yards per attempt.
The whole thing boils down to this for Vrabel, GM Jon Robinson and the Titans: How long do they feel the window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is open?
If they feel like it is a one or maximum two-year window, then the 43-year-old Brady, who certainly knows the path to the Lombardi Trophy might be the best answer for the Titans. They just have to know that on the other side of that, pass or fail, that where will likely be a downward slide coming once Brady is gone, and (assuming he re-signs) Derrick Henry has more tread off the tires at the running back position.
It would make it imperative to retain right tackle Jack Conklin, who would be expensive either with an extension or with the franchise tag, because the immobile Brady probably wouldn’t be too keen on the idea of a rookie or a journeyman playing at right tackle.
It would also mean that in 2022 or 2023, or somewhere thereabouts, the Titans could be headed back into full-blown rebuild mode after Brady is finished. Somewhere in there, a stopgap quarterback or green untested replacement would be taking over one TB12 rides off into the sunset – Super Bowl ring in Nashville or not.
On the other hand, if the Titans believe that a window of opportunity opened in 2019 and will remain so for the next three to five years, then it certainly makes sense to give Tannehill the chance to replicate what he did last season in Tennessee.
Sure, there are risks with Tannehill. There are those who say that 2019 could have been an aberration, like in baseball when a normal 12-homer guy hits 25 dingers. The obvious question is can he do it again. There are obvious doubters, but Tannehill’s play and his rapport with his receivers seemed to beget a confidence level that his game lacked in Miami.
Based on 2019, and the fact that Tannehill will be 32 next season, he should be entering some of the best years of his career. Remember, a change of scenery from San Diego to New Orleans certainly took Drew Brees’ play to a Hall of Fame level most would not have predicted. This is not to say that Tannehill should be fitted for a gold jacket just yet, but sometimes the right city and the right system can change a quarterback’s fortunes.
So, what will the Titans do? It comes down to a matter of how long they think the window to win is open and who is better equipped to take advantage of it.