Tom Brady's first foray into free agency both seems like it was 100 years ago and only yesterday. When the news broke that the future Hall of Famer would be leaving the New England Patriots after two decades, rumors linked Brady to pretty much every open QB spot in the NFL. That is just something that happens when a player of his caliber hits the open market and the rumor mill gets rolling.
One team that made sense for Brady as a landing spot, but was never linked to him in any legitimate capacity, was the Chicago Bears. Until today, that is.
Dan Patrick reported on his show that the Bears were one of the finalists in the Brady free agent sweepstakes, next to the eventual winners of that sweepstakes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Los Angeles Chargers. At the 4:50 mark of the Hour 3 episode from today:
"Did you know that the Bears were in the final list of teams for Tom Brady?... The final list that Brady was looking at, the Chargers, the Bears, and the Buccaneers. I was told this yesterday. I said, 'Wait a minute. The Bears?' [The source] told me yes.- Dan Patrick
This is news to just about everyone. From the outside, it felt like the Tennessee Titans had the best chance with their combination of weapons and familiarity with former teammate Mike Vrabel at the helm. Chicago had a lot of what Brady was looking for, though; their defense is downright ferocious and they have some talent on offense, arguably more than what the Patriots trotted out last season. Chicago is also the type of cold-weather environment that Brady has dominated in over the last few decades.
But their offensive weapons pale in comparison to the ones down in Tampa, and there isn't an easy branding angle like with Tompa Bay. Choosing the Bears would have made the NFC North very interesting, but Chicago will be rolling with Mitchell Trubisky instead of Brady this season. What could have been...