Was Tom Brady Actually Close To Signing With Another Team Last Summer?

Last summer, Tom Brady was a free agent, and teams in need of a quarterback in the NFL were salivating at the chance to land the future Hall of Famer.

In the end, Brady decided to head South, going to Tampa Bay to play for Coach Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers. The move clearly paid off.

Reports from ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington now say though that the move to Tampa wasn't a 'for sure' till Brady inked the deal.

Darlington says that the team that nearly landed Brady was actually the New Orleans Saints, who lost to Tampa in the NFC Divisional round.

Brady to the Saints would have shaken up the NFL in a big way, though he did have Drew Brees standing in his way. How that would have worked out is anyone's guess.

“I think that people still underestimate how close Tom Brady was to signing with the New Orleans Saints up until he ultimately decided on the Bucs,” ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington said Wednesday.

“I know that that’s gonna be a statement that people try to question. It’s the truth.”

If Brady would have inked with the Saints, it might have spelled the end for Brees, who could have seen the writing on the wall and simply retired before the 2020 season instead of after it.

“Sean Payton cannot look back and (not) say, ‘Man, I would’ve loved to have Tom Brady last year because it would also have meant that I have him for a few more years moving forward.’ No question in my mind, the Saints, despite understanding they did what they had to do, there is a little bit of—let’s call it regret—that Tom Brady is not their quarterback," Darlington explained.

In the end, Brady is happy as a clam in Tampa. He and the Bucs are ready to defend their Super Bowl title, while the Saints are in transition with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill set to be their starter in 2021.

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Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."