The top rumor floating around when it comes to Derek Carr’s replacement in Sin City is that Tom Brady will be his successor. Here’s why this substitution makes zero sense for the Las Vegas Raiders:
No. 1: Tom Brady Doesn’t Ensure Long-Term Success
The Raiders have been bad the last couple years. Using the adjective “bad” is actually being nice. You have to consider that the Raiders haven’t won a playoff game since the 2002 NFL season. That season also ended with the Raiders losing the Super Bowl by 27 points. The Raiders’ goal (hopefully) is to become consistently competitive and to not only hope but to expect to make the playoffs each season. The Raiders have fallen so far short of that standard that just making the playoffs is a pipe dream for many.
If the Raiders do sign Tom Brady, who turns 46 years old in August this year, there is no guarantee he will play beyond one or two more seasons. This requires putting all of the Raiders’ efforts and likely money into a single season. The hope is that you hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February by doing so.
It worked for the Rams and Buccaneers
The Rams used a strategy similar to this in 2021. Also, ironically enough, the Buccaneers in 2020 did the same. Both of those seasons resulted in a Super Bowl ring, Brady included, but the front offices had to get creative in order to stay competitive. The Rams finished this season with a record of 5-12 after their Super Bowl win. They are now facing a host of injuries and a lack of depth, picks, and money due to this strategy. Should the Raiders do the same thing when trying to turn the team into a winning dynasty? Absolutely not.
Signing Brady is merely putting a band-aid on the problem. If Josh McDaniels wants to start his own “Patriot-esque” dynasty, he needs to select a quarterback that he can win with for multiple seasons, not just one. Brady has been unsuccessful in winning another Super Bowl with the Buccaneers since 2020, yet their rosters in 2021 and 2022 are still better than what the Raiders have had. There is no promise of a Super Bowl appearance with Brady, which is something fans are struggling to understand.
No. 2: He’s 46 Years Old, 46.
There is no disputing that Brady is by far the most accomplished quarterback of all time. He also turns 46 in August 2023. At this point in his career, Brady has been able to hand-select which team he wants to play for. Brady picked the Buccaneers because they had an above-average defense, an excellent offensive line, and a plethora of offensive weapons. Brady was even able to recruit a couple of other dynamic players to join him in Florida.
If Brady came to Las Vegas, he would be sitting behind a mediocre offensive line. It was an O-line that allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked 34 times. The last time Brady was sacked that many times, he was in his late 30s. If you watch Brady play now, he is visibly frustrated anytime he is brought to the ground. Guess what? That frustration will continue to grow as he continues to age.
Las Vegas’s defense is nowhere close to the masterful defense Todd Bowles constructed for Brady that was instrumental in their 2020 Super Bowl dominance over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders’ improvements require a multitude of transactions that will make it unlikely for them to field a team capable of making a Super Bowl run in 2023. The Raiders’ defense allowed 24.6 points per game this past season. That ranked them 26th out of 32 teams in the league. The Buccaneers’ defense currently ranks 13th.
The numbers paint an ugly picture
It would be a surprise for Brady to play at 46 years old, but at 47 or beyond that? There is only so much beating one can take at that age. Brady is still competing at a high level, but some of his statistics are taking a dive in correlation with his age and overall playing ability. According to all the statistics I could find, Brady’s average yards per pass attempt (6.4 vs. 7.6 in 2020) is decreasing, as is his lowest QBR (52.6) since 2006. Brady finished the regular season with 25 touchdowns when his two previous seasons yielded 40 or more touchdowns.
These figures can be partially explained by scheme, personnel, and a head coaching change in Tampa, but it’s not a coincidence that we are seeing a decline. Brady’s visible frustrations would only increase in Las Vegas. Basically, it would not be an ideal situation for him.
No. 3: Josh McDaniels Needs A Mobile QB Not The Statue Of Liberty
On the Raiders’ list of priorities, the number one spot should read “Just Win.” As stated earlier, Brady’s desire to play in the pocket, partially limited due to his age and athletic ability, would hamper the offense. One of the main complaints about Derek Carr was that he did not use his legs enough.
That is a fair assessment, as he crumbled in the pocket time and time again. Fans instead wanted him to run out to the sideline and extend the play. It was a true delight to see Jarrett Stidham evade pressure and extend plays against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17. The offense was finally fun to watch, and our brains began to fantasize about having a truly mobile quarterback in Josh McDaniels’ system. While Lamar Jackson is an unlikely candidate, there are several quarterbacks in the upcoming free-agent class that could fit the bill.
So why supplement an immobile quarterback with someone similar to Brady, who demands a clean pocket and an elite offensive line? The Raiders don’t have that kind of offensive line, and this offense can thrive with a quarterback with speed as well as a strong arm. Brady can still throw the ball a long way, but he is not what he used to be.
No. 4: Winning The AFC West Won’t Be A Cakewalk
On top of the need for a mobile quarterback in the modern NFL offense, Brady coming to the Raiders doesn’t make sense because of the division they play in, the AFC West. Brady currently plays in the NFC South, where he is competing against Andy Dalton, Desmond Ridder, and Sam Darnold. So why trade that in to play against Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert four times a year? Even Russell Wilson had some games where he looked competitive.
Brady and his Buccaneers won the division with a mediocre record of 8-9 and are in the playoffs. That record would put them in 3rd place in the AFC West this season, negating a playoff appearance. Mahomes and Herbert aren’t going anywhere for the next decade, lessening the chance for a Super Bowl appearance.
If Brady leaves Florida, it’s not to play for a team where he’s going to have to score 40 points a game to win. Brady is going to select a division where he can win and have an elite defense back him up. He won’t have that defense with the Raiders. In fact, if he watched the Raiders in the AFC West in 2022, he’d see they went 3-3 in the division.
No. 5: The History Between Tom Brady And Raider Nation Is A Painful One
This may be the pettiest reason to not sign Brady, but for our die-hard Raiders fans, this is important. Brady has been a longtime enemy of the Raiders for longer than many of the team’s fans have been alive. Tom Brady is responsible for one of the biggest missed calls in sports history, which, in the opinion of many, ruined the Raiders for decades.
The “Tuck Rule” came in the AFC playoff divisional round during the 2001 season. Brady fumbled the football, but due to his influence and this bizarre “rule,” he was able to have the call reversed, and it was declared an incomplete pass. Jon Gruden and the Raiders ended up losing the game when the fumble recovery would have sealed their victory in Foxboro.
One year later, Gruden is gone, the Raiders implode in the Super Bowl, and they never reach the big game again. Since then, Brady has beaten the Raiders every time they have met, as a Patriot and as a Buccaneer. Brady and the Patriots have been the scapegoats for the Raiders’ failure, and planting Brady in a Raiders uniform is just wrong. Raiders fans would be opposed to the signing for that singular reason, as if having McDaniels in the building wasn’t hard enough for them.
The Raiders definitely need a new quarterback, and while it definitely isn’t going to be Derek Carr, it shouldn’t be Tom Brady either.
*Top Photo: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports