By MyFM's Jake Archer - Yesterday Robert Kraft met the media at the NFL meetings in Arizona and spoke on a number of topics from Malcolm Butler to Brandin Cooks. He gave a bunch of great sound bites but perhaps his most interesting piece of information was that Tom Brady has told him he wants to play “another 6-7 years.”
Now Kraft went on to say that he “hopes” Bill Belichick coaches into his 80’s and that Brandin Cooks could have a Randy Moss level impact on the team. He was obviously feeling very good and very confident, but that doesn’t mean he was exaggerating when talking about Brady. He specifically said that Brady “told him three days ago” about wanting to play that long. This wasn’t wishful thinking; this was a direct quote from the man himself.
Of course, a lot of people heard this and shook their heads. Many people hate that people in New England think Brady can walk on water and that he is immune to father time. But who is the real fool here? Is it the person who thinks Tom Brady can play until he’s 45 or the person who has seen what the guy has done time and time again and still doubts him? In my mind, Brady has proven that he isn’t like anyone else that has ever played and he’s earned the right to tell us what he thinks is possible. Betting against a man that has done what he has would feel silly to me.
With all that said, my actual take on Brady is that barring injury, he’s got about two to three high-level years left. After that, he might drop down to league-average. I just can’t see him being any worse than that though because I think even a bad version of Brady is better than most of the starting quarterbacks out there.
Brady is an intense competitor who lives and breathes football around the clock. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who will ever be ready to quit and I can sadly see him one day suiting up for another team if he feels he’s still able to play. If he wins again next year, he’ll probably just be hungry for more. But I also think that if his play ever falls to a below-average level, he’ll know it’s time to quit.
Only one quarterback in the history of the league has had a productive season once they turn 40, and that was Brett Favre. After that however, Favre fell off a cliff and limped into retirement. Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde were on rosters at age 44, but they weren’t contributing anything of note. George Blanda played until he was 48, but he was mostly kicking late in his career. For Brady, who turns 40 in August before the regular season even kicks off, this is a tall task. If he can play at a high level for even just a year or two, he will have done something that seemed impossible.
It’s uncharted water that he’s wading into at this point in his career, but would you really be surprised if he found a way to not only float, but swim? Are you going to be that surprised if the Patriots show faith in him by locking him up for another few years and trading Jimmy Garoppolo? If they do, then that is the ultimate sign that this guy is a different breed. Bill Belichick doesn’t like to take risks with older players when he’s got someone else to replace them. If the most cutthroat coach of all time believes Brady isn’t slowing down, then who are we to say otherwise?
Regardless, I’m cautiously optimistic about Brady’s future. Do I think he’s going to rip off another 3 Super Bowls, win 4 MVPs and go undefeated? Do I think he’s going to be the best quarterback in the game when he’s 46? No, I don’t. But he takes care of himself like a maniac and puts himself in a position to do just that and then laugh in my face when he does.