Mike Florio Floats Hypothetical For Tom Brady-Sean Payton Pact

Could Brady leave Tampa and stick in the NFC South?


January 18

You’ve heard all of the popular suggestions for potential Tom Brady landing spots by now.

The quarterback-needy Las Vegas Raiders, coached by old friend Josh McDaniels, are an obvious fit for the seven-time Super Bowl champion. The loaded San Francisco 49ers could give Brady the opportunity to fulfill his boyhood dream of playing for his hometown team.

These potential suitors make sense, but maybe there’s a sleeper team waiting in the wings as Brady inches closer to NFL free agency.

In a Pro Football Talk column published Tuesday, Mike Florio kicked around the idea of Brady teaming up with Sean Payton this offseason. If Brady is hell-bent on playing for the long-time New Orleans Saints head coach, there probably are only four teams capable of housing the partnership: the Texans, Cardinals, Panthers and Broncos.

Those teams with head-coaching vacancies are scheduled to meet with Payton, but only two would be able to roster Brady. Denver effectively is hand-cuffed to Russell Wilson and it wouldn’t make sense for Arizona to move off Kyler Murray to make way for a 45-year-old. That leaves Houston and Carolina, and the latter undoubtedly is better built to win now.

Other factors that could pull Brady to Charlotte are the very winnable NFC South — which his Tampa Bay Buccaneers just won with an 8-9 record — and a very aggressive owner who could offer the future Hall of Fame everything under the sun.

The Panthers check a number of boxes, no doubt, but they probably aren’t likely to field a Payton-coached team quarterbacked by Brady. Payton himself recently acknowledged an NFL union with Brady probably isn’t in the cards.

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