Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports told Mad Dog Sports on Tuesday that the 49ers are “closing hard” on the quarterback:
Curran later added the interest would be “real” from both sides.
Brady, who grew up a 49ers fan, could replace former back-up Jimmy Garoppolo, potentially setting up a reunion with Garoppolo and New England.
A year after tearing his ACL, Garoppolo completed over 69 percent of his passes with a 102.0 passer rating in his first full season as a starter. The 28-year quarterback led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to the Kanas City Chiefs.
But if there was a weak link on the NFC’s No. 1 seeded roster, it was their quarterback. Garoppolo barely passed the ball in the Divisional Round and NFC Championship Game, and when he was forced to throw in the Super Bowl, Garoppolo completed just 65% of his passes for 214 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
While Garoppolo is under contract through 2022, after signing a five year, $137.5 million extension in 2018, the 49ers appear to have an out in his contract. If the 49ers were to trade or release him, they could do so with only $4.2 million in dead cap counting against their salary cap. San Francisco could then use $22.4 million in savings to sign a more proven quarterback, like Brady.
While Brady’s 24 touchdowns were his lowest since 2008 and his 52.5 QBR was his worst since 2006, Brady’s postseason resume could get the 49ers over the playoff hump, especially with the talented weapons San Francisco has surrounded their quarterback with.
As for New England, replacing Brady with Garoppolo could be their best-case scenario. Garoppolo, who was drafted by New England in 2014, spent three years with the Patriots and impressed in his limited action. Garoppolo has experience within their system, and now has valuable Super Bowl experience as a starter.
Garoppolo also built a strong relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick throughout his time in New England, and the two have stayed in touch since the trade. After regularly receiving congratulatory texts from Belichick after each start he made during the 2017 season, Garoppolo told reporters before the Super Bowl they still chat.
“It’s every now and again,” Garoppolo said at Super Bowl Opening Night in Miami. “There’s no real rhyme or reason to it. It is just whenever he feels like it. Whenever he does, it’s always an honor.”
While it appears all speculation for now, as Curran earlier stated he believes its 50/50 on whether Brady ends up in New England or Tennessee, the hypothetical is an interesting one for both sides. New England and San Francisco are also set to play next season, to make this potential swap even more intriguing.
With two more weeks until the start of free agency, buckle up for more wildness in the Tom Brady watch.
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