Can Bucs QB Brady and Payton team up in New Orleans?
Will Tom Brady retire after a much tougher than expected 2022 Bucs season? Or will Brady come back to play another year in Tampa Bay?
Or could Brady return for a 24th season in the NFL, but choose to play elsewhere at age 46?
Last December, Brady heeded a plan hatched by Dolphins minority owner Bruce Beal to lure former Saints head coach Sean Payton and the greatest quarterback of all time to Miami. That plan fell apart early in the offseason when former head coach Brian Flores filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, and a league investigation led to Miami being fined $1.5 million and the owner suspended for tampering.
Brady retired for 40 days, then retired again to rejoin the Bucs before free duty began. Payton retired for the 2022 season, turning the Saints over to defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. The Saints have had an even more disappointing season than the 7-8 Bucs and are 6-9 this year. Todd Bowles’ Bucs won the Saints for the first time since the Jon Gruden era 14 years ago.
Payton, who has worked for Fox Sports as an NFL commentator this year, is strongly considering a return to coaching in 2023, and he has been linked to multiple teams. There are rumors that Payton could be interested in the Los Angeles Chargers if the team decides to fire Brandon Staley, but that’s unlikely if they make the playoffs. An offensive mastermind, Payton wants to go to a team that has a great quarterback, and the Chargers are a perfect fit thanks to rising star Justin Herbert.
There is also speculation that Miami might want to take another look at the potential Payton-Brady connection, especially since Brady will be a free agent in 2023. team on course for the playoffs under new head coach Mike McDaniels.
That could have McDaniels in the hot seat, especially if the Saints decide they want to trade Payton for draft picks. Any trade that takes place is likely to occur with an AFC team. The Dolphins were denied permission to speak with Payton earlier this year. Maybe that will change this low season.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a former first-round pick, is dealing with another concussion this week and there is some concern for his health and long-term future in the NFL due to multiple head injuries this season. That could lead the Dolphins to want to move on and look for another quarterback next year.
It has also long been rumored that Dallas is interested in Payton where he could coach Dak Prescott. But with Dallas up 11-4, including a recent win over Philadelphia, Mike McCarthy’s job looks secure — unless the Cowboys lose in the first round of the playoffs.
Payton would like to coach Bucs QB Brady
There’s little doubt that Payton, who recently appeared on Brady’s “Let’s Go!” podcast, would love the opportunity to coach Brady who is a future Hall of Famer.
But what if Payton returned to New Orleans after a year-long hiatus? Would Brady be tempted to jump to a division rival to play for Payton? That’s a rumor doing the rounds Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk.
“Brady is on a free transfer after the season,” said Florio. “He can go anywhere. Why not the Saints? Why not team up with Payton? Why doesn’t he play his home games at the stadium where he won his first Super Bowl?”
Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas seemed to be in favor of getting the rumor out. New Orleans struggled this year with Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill all taking turns at quarterback.
But Brady leaving the Bucs for the Saints probably isn’t going to happen.
Brady is a very loyal person and would not want to transfer to a rival division. The Bucs, most notably owner Joel Glazer and general manager Jason Licht, have been very good to Brady since his arrival in 2020, orchestrating several personnel moves that the legendary quarterback wanted to see happen.
Brady wouldn’t want to betray their trust in him and their friendship. Nor would he want to turn his back on his Bucs teammates and play against them twice a year in 2023.
If Brady decides to play in 2023 and it’s not in Tampa Bay, it won’t be in New Orleans – or for any NFC South rival.
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