ESPN NFL reporter Jeff Darlington named the Tennessee Titans as the favorites to land Tom Brady on Adam Schefter's podcast earlier this week. According to Darlington, the Titans are followed by Las Vegas and New England.
Schefter, speaking on the Rich Eisen Show, noted Darlington is “a lot more connected to that particular situation than a lot of people realize.”
This news is surprising. The Titans are rarely brought up in the discussion and the oddsmakers have them at 16-1 to add the quarterback. The Patriots, Raiders, and Chargers have been the three most rumored teams to this point. Though, as I wrote after the Patriots' season ended, the Titans are clearly the best football-fit for Brady.
He'd be subject to a substantial upgrade in surrounding offensive firepower in Tennessee. The Titans have a dynamic receiving core and employ the NFL's most unstoppable, bulldozing running back. (Derrick Henry is a free agent but is expected to return.) Mike Vrabel isn't Bill Belichick — obviously — but knows Brady well. This is a top-level roster that built a 10-point lead in the AFC Championship Game against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Brady wouldn't need to return to his prime to win a Super Bowl with the Titans. Tennessee stomped, pushed around, and humiliated the Ravens, who were the most dominant team in the NFL, with a formula that required just 88 passing yards from Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill's name in this equation is where it gets complicated. If the Titans use the franchise tag on him, as some expect them to do, it'd be virtually impossible to sign Brady to the type of contract he's seeking. Depending on Brady's timetable, the Titans may have to risk not tagging Tannehill to leave the door open for Brady's addition.
There is debate if the soon-to-be 43-year-old-Brady is a better player than Tannehill, who is coming off his best season in the NFL. We can't erase the seven years of evidence screaming that Tannehill is a middle-of-the-road quarterback. Brady seems well worth the risk.