The Detroit Lions could be a surprising free agency option for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, according to Pro Football Talk Live's Chris Simms.
Simms suggested that Brady's ties to the state as an alum of the University of Michigan coinciding with the Lions' sudden emergence as a potential playoff team could lead to a realistic agreement between the franchise and the seven-time Super Bowl champion. Pro Football Talk founder Mike Florio, who co-hosts the show alongside Simms, acknowledged that Detroit could view Brady as a much more viable option than current quarterback Jared Goff in accomplishing a deep postseason run in a column shared on his website Wednesday (January 25) following Simms' initial comments.
"Goff doesn’t deserve to suddenly find himself swirling in a storm of speculation," Florio wrote. "But the reality is that, when he arrived in Detroit two years ago, no one believed he’d be anything more than a short-term solution. He has played well enough to be traded to a team that needs a starter, and there could be one or two teams looking for one after the looming game of signal-caller musical chairs ends."
The Lions have never made a Super Bowl appearance, with their last of four NFL championships (1935, 1952, 1953, 1957) taking place prior to the AFL-NFL merger and have missed the playoffs during each of the past six seasons, as well as nine of the last 11 years.
On Tuesday (January 24), ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Las Vegas Raiders believe Brady would consider signing with them during his upcoming free agency in his latest column for ESPN+ (subscription needed). Fowler wrote that the Raiders are one of "about three teams" with a realistic shot at landing Brady, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, should he decide to continue his NFL career for a 24th season. Additionally, the Buccaneers are reportedly still in consideration for the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
NFL reporter Dov Kleiman shared information from Fowler's report on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday (January 23), Brady reiterated that even he doesn't know what his choice will be regarding whether to continue his playing career, test free agency or retire, during the latest episode of his Let's Go podcast with co-hosts Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald.
"If I knew what I was gonna f*****g do, I would've f*****g done it," Brady said.
On Saturday (January 21), NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that several Buccaneers players believe Brady had already made his offseason decision regarding his future based on interactions with the seven-time Super Bowl champion following the team's playoff elimination loss to the Dallas Cowboys on January 16.
"I'd be surprised if he's back," one player said, according to Rapoport.
"He sounded like a person saying goodbye for good," another claimed.
Brady, 45, will become an unrestricted free agent for the second time in his 23-year career, following a 2022 campaign in which the Buccaneers offense struggled to meet high expectations.
"Not the way we wanted to end it, but we didn't deserve it," Brady said during his postgame press conference on Monday night via ESPN. "I give them a lot of credit. They played a good game. Made a lot more plays than we did, so a tough night.
"I think there's a part of football where I feel like it's -- sometimes you get lucky, but most of the time, the team that earns it wins, and they played [well] all year."
Brady has a "no tag" clause in his contract, which means he cannot be franchise tagged by the Buccaneers and will become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason should he chose not to re-sign.
The San Mateo native also has a massive contract to become FOX Sports' lead NFL analyst once his playing career concludes.
"I'm gonna go home and get a good night's sleep -- as good as I can tonight," Brady said, adding that he didn't have a set timetable for his decision. "This has been all I've focused on -- this game. It'll just be one day at a time. Truly."
Brady finished the Bucs' Wild Card Round game with 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 35 of 66 passing. The seven-time Super Bowl champion signed with Tampa Bay during the 2020 offseason following 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
The Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV during Brady's first season with the franchise. Brady announced his retirement, then un-retirement this offseason ahead of his 23rd NFL season.
The 45-year-old is the NFL's all-time passing leader for yards and touchdowns, as well as quarterback wins, among numerous other records.