The thought is not outlandish. The dream is reasonable. And, no, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
But, Raiders fans, those visions that you have of Tom Brady donning a silver and black No. 12 for the Raiders’ inaugural season in Las Vegas will remain a pipe dream.
It’s not really about the town (OK, maybe a little) or economics — all that stuff can be ironed out and, in some ways, it makes sense.
The offensive line, running back Josh Jacobs and tight Darren Waller are all better than what Brady had this past season in New England. Add a free agent receiver and a speedster in the draft, and you suddenly have a potent plug-and-play offense for Brady. The Raiders certainly need help on the defensive side of the ball, but they have plenty of draft picks and cap space to improve there.
While I’ve been told by people in the Brady camp that his next market would have to be major — we’re talking Los Angeles, New York, Chicago … maybe Miami because his TB12 Sports brand is very important to him — I think there’s enough to sell Brady on Vegas considering the proximity to Los Angeles and his parents in San Mateo, California.
Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, would find plenty that’s up to her tastes in town. The big question in this regard: Family is important to Brady … would that part of the equation — schools, neighborhoods, etc. — be up to the same level that they have been used to in swanky Brookline, Massachusetts, and even fancier Greenwich, Connecticut. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Northeast … picture a movie prep school and those have basically been Brady’s last two houses)?
That’s one part of the hard sell.
The other part could well make this a non-starter among both parties — not just Brady.
The only offensive system Brady has known throughout his career is the Ron Erhardt-Ray Perkins system that was first installed with the Patriots in the 1970s, was developed more with the Giants in the 1980s and then went with Bill Parcells and Charlie Weis to the Patriots in the 1990s and has remained and expanded exponentially through Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Bill O’Brien.
The West Coast offense used by Jon Gruden isn’t a completely different language — the Don Coryell scheme that uses a numbers system would be — because both the Erhardt-Perkins and West Coast offenses use words to describe plays. But it would be a tough transition. Sort of like going from Spanish to Portuguese.
The West Coast offense uses words to describe what every back, receiver or tight end does on offense. Erhardt-Perkins uses terminology to describe multiple route concepts. So if you have three receivers on one side of the field, one word like “Sail” would tell all three their individual routes.
It wouldn’t be an impossible transition. Brett Favre went from the West Coast to Erhardt-Perkins in his trade to the Jets in 2008 and got off to a great start before injury ended things. But that was a means to an end — Favre had to go to the Jets for one season to later get revenge on the Packers with the Vikings (another West Coast team at the time).
But it would take a lot of give and take — and, more importantly, time — from both Gruden and Brady to make it work. Brady has largely stayed away from the team facility until training camp the past two years, citing his desire to spend more time with his family.
Two veteran quarterbacks Gruden had in Tampa, Brad Johnson and Jim Miller, have said in the past that the first year of the transition is difficult. But Johnson did win a Super Bowl in his second season with Gruden — mostly because of an all-time defense.
So I just don’t see it. If Brady does leave New England, the Chargers, who desperately need help to sell tickets, make the most sense. The Titans and Brady buddy Mike Vrabel or the Colts are the best options if Brady wants to win now. The Bears and Giants offer a bigger market.
But I don’t think Brady’s going anywhere. I think his power play this offseason will produce the only things he’s ever wanted from Belichick — a little more respect, more of a partnership and three more years of contract security.
I’m willing to wager — this is Vegas after all — that the only time you’ll see Brady next season is on your television … when the Raiders visit the Patriots in the regular season.