Tom Brady: Is this the New England Patriot's last year at the helm in Boston?
Posted on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 06:29 AM
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In short: no.
Wow, that was a surprisingly easy argument.
There is no doubt who is the main man in New England next season as the first ever unanimous MVP from last season leads his team through offseason workouts. The lockout appears to be close to being lifted across the country and football can soon return to being the focal point of the NFL once again.
There is a quip that many NFL analysts make about the NFL that it is a Not For Longleague. This holds true for many players but that definitely couldn't be said about Brady's career.
However Brady is now entering his 12th season in the Not For Longleague and is 33 years old. For the most part of his career, he has been one of the most durable players in the league. Save for the 2008 season Brady has never missed a regular season start through injury.
Saying that, the 2008 season did happen, and he is only two years removed from that serious injury. Serious injuries such as the torn ACL that Brady suffered are more difficult to recover from once the body ages. At Brady's age there is no doubt that he cannot suffer another similar injury or his career will be over.
While Patriot fans won't like to even consider the situation, the organization already has.
Ryan Mallett was too much value for the Patriots to pass up on in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft. Mallett was projected by many to be a first round pick—some had him going as high as 12th overall to the Vikings—but reportedly fell due to his poor attitude.
Mallet joins Brian Hoyer behind Brady on the depth chart. Hoyer himself is highly thought of in the organization and was impressive in the limited time he got on the field last year. It is yet to be determined whether either of these players have the ability to take over for Brady within the next few years but they are certainly being groomed to do so.
Aaron Rodgers' recent success after sitting for three seasons behind Brett Favre in Green Bay has somewhat laid the blueprint that New England wants to achieve with it's quarterback situation. Rodgers was drafted in 2005 but didn't start a game until the 2008 season. It took him only into his third season as a starter to win his first Super Bowl.
Belichick is relying on Brady right now to lead a talented team that he has created around him. However he is also looking to the future by doing this because that raw talent will create a rookie friendly environment for the rookie starter in three years. In three years time key players like Brady, Wilfork and Welker may no longer be there but the defense is covered in potential all-pros waiting to break out while the offense has stockpiled young tight ends and running backs to lean on.
With some young offensive tackles also in the mix, Belichick has set up his team to win now and just be solid quarterback away from elite in a few years. His attitude towards stockpiling draft picks over the past few years has made me consider—that's all—the chances of him making a big move for Andrew Luck.
Andrew Luck will be the number one overall draft choice next year as he is thought to be the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning came out of Tennessee.
A lot would have to be given up by the Patriots to acquire Luck but the Patriots have such a deep pool of young talent now that extra draft picks are useless to them. Giving up, say two 1st round picks, two second round picks and a third wouldn't hurt this team. That's not to say that it doesn't have needs and won't have any in the future, but its needs will be minimal and could be filled in free agency.
That is definitely a long shot strategy for Belichick to execute but he has always had an elite quarterback during his successes so he definitely understands the value of working with one.
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