There’s a Tom Brady-Sized Hole in the NFL… Who Will Fill It?

There’s a Tom Brady-Sized Hole in the NFL… Who Will Fill It?

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If your phone has been buzzing today, it’s probably Tom Brady’s fault. After some speculation on Friday, Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington from ESPN broke the news today that 44-year-old NFL legend was seriously considering retirement after 22 seasons, 365 games, and 7 Super Bowl wins.

If you think the fans are reeling, just imagine how his team must feel. After only two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Brady already pulled one Super Bowl win out of his pocket. Even though Brady’s decision isn’t even 100% official or confirmed yet, the rumor mill is already buzzing about who could possibly step in for the Bucs and fill Brady-sized shoes. The possibilities that many sports analysts are suggesting may surprise you.

Aaron Rodgers

Who better to mentor Kyle Trask in a post-Brady league than Aaron Rodgers? With Brady stepping off the field, the door opens for a trade that could bring another veteran in to take the mantle of teacher. First of all, Aaron Rodgers has been more than vocal about his unhappiness in Green Bay. During the off-season, it seemed almost likely that Aaron Rodgers would join another team. The rumors were swirling, and the Denver Broncos were assumed to be the team he would most likely end up with. So, who’s to say that Rodgers still doesn’t want to make a change? Especially given the way his season ended this year.

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However, there’s one rub, and that is Aaron Rodgers’ own retirement speculation. Would Rodgers want to end his legacy as a Tom Brady replacement? It feels like a long shot. But, if Rodgers really thought that there was enough juice left on the Buccaneers’ roster to make one more solid run at a Super Bowl, he just might make a move.

Jimmy Garoppolo

The Patriots once considered Jimmy G a Tom Brady replacement, so it would be pretty ironic if it happened for Tampa Bay instead. But considering that the 49ers already have Garoppolo’s replacement under his wing (in the form of Trey Lance), the possibility of Jimmy G stepping into Brady’s shoes after all is absolutely within the realm of reason.

Garoppolo is also on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent just a year from now. The 49ers could save a bundle if they let Garoppolo go for the 2022 season… and considering his performance, the Bucs would likely pick him up for less. Can Jimmy G ever reach Brady-level quarterbacking? He has his moments, especially if they paired him with Kyle Trask or another veteran backup, but ultimately there is only one Tom Brady.

Andrew Luck 

Insane? Yes. Possible? Also yes. Don’t think for a minute that Andrew Luck wouldn’t leap, jump and fly out of retirement to replace the GOAT. Remember current head coach of the Buccaneers, Bruce Arians, coached Andrew Luck when he was the offensive coordinator for the Colts and was more shocked than anyone by his early–some say premature–retirement. 

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The circumstances that surrounded Luck’s retirement decision will long be debated. Luck had been dealing with a plethora of injuries that seemed to weigh very heavily upon him mentally and physically. A minor ankle issue that eventually became a significant problem during the 2018 season was terrible, but the fact that Luck had already missed the entirety of the 2017 season because of a shoulder injury made his ankle issue seem even worse. In press conferences, Luck stated that much of the joy he once had for the sport was no longer there.

Even barring injuries or mental fatigue, the very idea that Andrew Luck could suit up for the Bucs seems rather far-fetched indeed. But it’s not impossible. Remember, this is the NFL; crazier things have happened… Like Tom Brady coming to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example.