It feels like virtually every team in the league has been connected in someway shape or form to Tom Brady if he becomes a free agent later this month.
The Chargers, Raiders, Titans and Buccaneers are at the top of the list besides the Patriots, but one team that will not go away is the 49ers.
Even though at the NFL Combine 49ers management publicly backed Jimmy Garoppolo, the rumors continue.
Even though Garoppolo and the 49ers went to the Super Bowl last season, the quarterback didn't have a great fourth quarter in the game and was up-and-down all year. In addition, the 49ers can get out of his deal for only a dead cap hit of $4.2 million and Garoppolo's contract is very affordable. He is making $25.4 million in 2020, $25.5 million in 2021 and $25.6 million in 2022 (per Pro Football Talk).
So, if the organization really doesn't believe in him for the future, the potential is there to get out of the contract via trade and then that would allow them to potentially make a play for Brady.
While this was a pipe dream dating back to when Garoppolo was traded in 2017, the scenario of Brady going back home to the Bay Area and Garoppolo coming back to New England is back in the discussion and it won't go away.
People like Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk continue to bring it up, it continues to be discussed on various talk radio shows, and now even NBC Sports' Tom E. Curran is seriously discussing it.
"50/50 (he returns to New England)," Curran said Tuesday on Mad Dog Radio. "To me, it's either going to be New England or Tennessee with the 49ers closing hard on the outside. ... I think it is from both (sides on the 49ers talk). I think there is appeal. What is interesting about that is the Patriots sent Jimmy Garoppolo out there for such short collateral, (Bill) Belichick could say, 'Why don't you sign this guy when he becomes available in two years, and I'll take Jimmy back. He'll get you the Super Bowl this year that you probably could have had with Brady and we'll start fresh.'"
This certainly does not mean it's definitely going to happen, but the fact that someone as plugged in as Curran is still discussing it and seemingly puts the 49ers ahead of teams like the Raiders and Chargers, it's very interesting.
Back when Garoppolo was dealt to the 49ers in 2017, it was reported Kyle Shanahan asked about trading for Brady first, so the interest could still be there, and then Brady could potentially want to end his career by going home to where he grew up and play for the team he loved as a child. Additionally, Belichick loved Garoppolo and was rumored to have wanted to have him as his quarterback for the long-term.
A swap of QBs could benefit both teams where the 49ers add a piece that could get them a Super Bowl and the Patriots get a long-term solution at quarterback.
On the surface it seems crazy, but the fact it continues to get brought up means there's at least some smoke to the rumor.