Titans' dream QB answer for 2020 just finished two days of practice in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The odds are very good that Tom Brady will finish his illustrious career with the New England Patriots.

But he took below-market deals in 2013 and 2016 and for the first time in what will be a 20-year career after he finishes the 2019 season, he could be a free agent. He recently signed what’s been deemed a pseudo-extension that upped his 2019 money and included an interesting stipulation: he cannot be franchise or transition tagged next year when the final two seasons of the deal will void and he will hit free agency barring another new contract.Brady

More than one Patriots’ reporter asked me Wednesday or Thursday about just how much cap room the Titans will have next year. Why? Because they think that, while it may be a long shot, Brady could be making visits next spring.

He didn't want $32 million-plus in an exclusive franchise tag deal next year. Maybe it's because he wants to see how the rest of the league values him. He will be able to, for the first time, if he so desires.

What if he finally said, “This team hasn’t paid me what I am worth, and even with that it hasn’t given me the quality receivers I deserve and here at the end I want to see what it’d be like somewhere else, with some different people.” (Tom Curran details what’s evolved here.)

It’s crazy that he’s be moving on, sure. But consider who else has thought about a crazy ending for Brady and the Patriots.

“It will end badly,” Tom Brady Sr. told the New York Times Magazine in 2015. The piece was titled “Tom Brady Cannot Stop.” And that was the reason for the father’s prediction -- because he figured the team would want an end before his son would.

So Brady would need a team with a lot of cap room, with a coach he respected, a GM who understands him, both working for a franchise in need of a quarterback that has some quality linemen and some trustworthy, professional weapons.

Stripping away fringe guys, the Titans currently have roughly $159 million cap dollars accounted for in 2020, and just $585,000 of that is to one quarterback, Logan Woodside. If he gets cut this year that will go away. The 2019 salary cap is $188.2 million and it will rise in a year.

We just witnessed a two-day Brady-Mike Vrabel lovefest, complete with trash talk, ass-slapping and a mini-trophy presentation from the quarterback to his former teammates for the Titans’ regular-season win over the Patriots last year. After each practice, Vrabel and his wife, Jen, hung out on the field with Brady.

Jon Robinson knows Brady too, as he was a scout and personnel man in New England.

Marcus Mariota may be in his final year with the team no matter who the alternative is. The decision would be a no-brainer for a chance at the final years of Brady. And we won’t raise Ryan Tannehill’s name in discussing such a scenario.

The Titans could protect his blindside with Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold, and he'd have Adam Humphries in that key slot role, a player the Patriots chased hard for Brady and lost out on. They also have an aging Delanie Walker and two young receivers in Corey Davis and A.J. Brown -- arguably a better group of targets than Brady has had in recent years.BradyLewan

Brady turned 42 on Aug. 3. He’s said he wants to play until he’s 45, so that would probably take us through 2022.

The Titans missed out on Peyton Manning when he was shopping for a new team in 2012. While Manning apparently loved Mike Munchak, the franchise was selling Chris Palmer as offensive coordinator and indications were Palmer did not get a good review from Eli Manning who’d worked with him with the Giants. He turned out to be a major bust in his second go-round in the NFL.

An Arthur Smith endorsement from Vrabel would hold way more weight.

Bud Adams ultimately fired GM Mike Reinfeldt after the 2012 season for his failure to more aggressively pursue Manning, and to land him. Amy Adams Strunk is hardly as temperamental as her father was at that stage, but she’s seemed perfectly willing to go along with the football decisions Vrabel and Robinson have wanted to make.

And a chance at a few years of the most famous and successful player in NFL history would put give her franchise attention like it’s never had before. Tickets and merchandise would sell like never before. No. 12 in white, navy and light blue would become the hottest jersey in America.

Hearts would be broken in New England.

The Titans would gain value.

And, even with a version of Brady who’d be further removed from his very best, they’d have their best shot at a Lombardi Trophy Tennessee has ever seen.

If he wanted to shop for a new team, this one would make plenty of sense.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

But sure, he probably doesn't even get to free agency, because the Patriots won't be able to move on and won't have anything close to a sufficient replacement. (Though they've moved on from a lot of guys and we can't say for sure he'll be fully exempt.) He surely treasures a one-team legacy and all that it means in an era where it's become rare across all pro sports.

I don't think it'll happen, but there is a lot there that doesn't remove it from the realm of possibility.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled 2019 Titans' season with below-average star-power and quarterbacks we don’t know if they can count on.

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