Could Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady Play a Game of Quarterback Musical Chairs?

Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson could also be on the move during what should be a wild NFL offseason

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers at Capital One's The Match. The two NFL quarterbacks are heading into the offseason uncertain where they'll end up. Could Rodgers go to the Bucs and Brady to the 49ers?
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers at The Match at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in July.
Stacy Revere/Getty Images for The Match

Even though the Super Bowl is still more than two weeks away, the NFL rumor mill is already operating at a speed befitting the height of the offseason.

At the center of the chatter are the two players who are already out of the postseason but will nonetheless likely finish first and second in this season’s MVP voting, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Both quarterbacks had exceptional seasons and both lost at home in the Divisional Round of the playoffs over the weekend despite being favored to win.

Since the losses by both players and their respective teams, there has been rampant speculation that Brady and Rodgers could either retire or attempt to continue playing for a new team. In the case of Brady, the team that he has been linked to is the one that beat Rodgers and the Packers on Saturday in Green Bay: the San Francisco 49ers. In the case of Rodgers, there are plenty of teams that he has been linked to, but there is one that stands out: Brady’s Tampa Bay Bucs.

In this wild scenario, which has been floated out there by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Brady would ask to be released by Tampa and they would comply thanks to a “wink-nod commitment” that they’d let him walk if he asked after 2021 as a perk of the team-friendly contract extension the 44-year-old signed last offseason. Free to head to a new team, Brady would go to San Francisco to replace free-agent-to-be Jimmy Garoppolo and make the Niners an instant Super Bowl favorite, as well as give rookie quarterback Trey Lance another year to gain some experience from the bench.

“Lance would get to watch and learn from the best ever for a year,” Florio writes. “And the 49ers, a final-four team despite having a quarterback who isn’t even in the top 20, could add Brady to a highly-talented roster and a brilliant coaching staff (his former teammate, Wes Welker, works there) and finally get their sixth Super Bowl win.”

If that scenario seems a bit nuts, just check out the Rodgers portion of the equation. Theorizing about what the Bucs would do if Brady were to leave or retire instead of turning to veteran backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert or 2021 second-rounder Kyle Trask, Florio floats the idea of Rodgers taking his talents to the Sunshine State. “We won’t name names, but let’s just say there’s another guy who wears No. 12 who may have to ask Brady for permission to wear No. 12 in Tampa,” he wrote. It’s utter insanity and there’s almost no chance it’ll happen, but it’s totally fine to dream.

In addition to Brady and Rodgers potentially changing teams, retiring or perhaps both returning to their respective clubs from last season, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson could also be on the move during what should be a wild NFL offseason. Where they might end up is anyone’s guess and all of these moving pieces will affect one another and keep the rumor mill churning until all the dust settles. To paraphrase, are you ready for some offseason football?

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