Star quarterback Tom Brady will make his Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, but there was almost a scenario in which the six-time Super Bowl champion would've been suiting up for Chicago instead.
The Bears were among the teams to make an offer for the 43-year-old Brady, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Brady, however, didn't want to play in the cold weather of Chicago and narrowed down his choices to the Chargers and Bucs.
The Bears, of course, opted to trade for another Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles, while Mitchell Trubisky beat him out in a preseason competition to be named the starter against the Lions in Week 1. Chicago also wasn't the only team that nearly could've had Brady.
Had Saints quarterback Drew Brees decided to retire after the 2019 season – something he came close to doing – the franchise’s backup plan was to sign Brady as his replacement, according to an ESPN report.
While Brees had said publicly in February he wanted to play in 2020, he was also receiving television offers and reportedly considered beginning his TV career this year before accepting a deal with NBC to become an analyst upon his retirement.
Meanwhile, the Saints felt strongly that they could land Brady, who has a good relationship with coach Sean Payton, and continued to discuss internally the possibility of signing him and how he could fit into the offense in the days leading up to free agency.
The Saints eventually struck a deal with Brees on March 13 for two years and $50 million. Four days later, Brady would sign the same deal with the Bucs, although his was fully guaranteed.
The Miami Dolphins also attempted to make a late run, although talks failed to gain much traction, per ESPN.
On Sunday, Brady will be going head-to-head with the 41-year-old Brees – who enters the season leading Brady as the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader and touchdown leader. It will mark the first time since 1998 that the NFL’s top two passing yards leaders will play each other, which was between Dan Marino and John Elway.