Before the Chicago Bears can determine what kind of interest they get for the #1 overall pick, they must wait to see how things shake out on the veteran quarterback market. Free agency starts on March 15th. There are a few prominent names expected to be available and others that might be on the move via trade. Aaron Rodgers is one. Derek Carr is another. Maybe even Lamar Jackson. However, there is always that one big name that tends to set things in motion.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reached out to several sources, including NFL executives trying to gauge how the market will break. There seems to be a strong belief that the name to watch is Tom Brady. Everything points to him leaving Tampa Bay. What people aren’t sure of is where he’ll end up next. Retiring again seems like a strong possibility. If not, there is a heavy favorite to land him.
A few teams I’ve spoken to expect Brady to retire. But should he play, the Raiders believe they are one of about three teams that he would consider. Tampa Bay isn’t out of it yet, though Brady appeared to say his goodbyes to the media in his last news conference with the team following the playoff loss to Dallas.
“I just think with the weapons they have and the familiarity with Josh McDaniels‘ offense and the people there, it would be a seamless transition for him,” a veteran AFC offensive coach said.
It makes sense.
Brady and McDaniels had loads of success in New England together. The QB would have a superstar receiver in Davante Adams, a stud running back in Josh Jacobs, a Pro Bowl tight end in Darren Waller, and would get to play in a dome.
So how does this affect the Chicago Bears?
The best outcome for them is for Brady to retire. It would take one of the few proven quarterback options for teams off the board. The more QB-needy teams they can have going into the draft, the better. No Brady means the Raiders would have Geno Smith, Daniel Jones, Jackson, or Jimmy Garoppolo as their primary free agency options. Expectations are that Jackson will get the franchise tag from Baltimore. Jones is also likely to stay put in New York. That means Smith, Garoppolo, or trying an aggressive trade to get Rodgers. That or they head into the draft with their #7 overall pick, hoping to land a top rookie.
If Brady goes to Las Vegas, it takes them out of the running for a possible trade up to #1. That is unfortunate for the Chicago Bears but not a death blow. Nobody considered them a top threat to do so anyway. It would make the landing spots for Smith, Rodgers, Carr, Jackson, Garoppolo, and Jones more interesting. Here is how Bears fans should want it to play out.
- Geno Smith – Sign with the Titans, Jets, Commanders, Saints, or Buccaneers
- Lamar Jackson – Stay in Baltimore
- Daniel Jones – Stay in New York
- Jimmy Garoppolo – Sign with Titans, Jets, Commanders, Saints or Buccaneers
- Derek Carr – Sign with or traded to Titans, Jets, Commanders, Saints, or Buccaneers
- Aaron Rodgers – Stay in Green Bay or retire
This outcome would ensure that every quarterback-needy team in the top 10, like Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, and Carolina, would be desperate to land one. That creates the market Chicago will be looking for.