It would be a shock to fans both inside and out of New England if Tom Brady were to move on from the New England Patriots and wear a new uniform next season.
But with the 42-year-old quarterback set to hit unrestricted free agency March 18, it's a real possibility. In fact, Brady's former teammate Tedy Bruschi wouldn't be surprised to see it happen.
During his Wednesday appearance on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria," Bruschi explained why he can envision Brady ending his Patriots career after 20 seasons and six Super Bowl titles.
"I can see him doing that," Bruschi said of Brady potentially joining a new team. "I think he has the courage to do it. I still think he has the fire to do it. And that is the thing too, think about the fire that is still inside that player, that is inside of Tom. He believes that he can do anything -- he can go somewhere and convince maybe some guys to come with him and form a team and start something fresh, start something new and he can win a championship there. That is probably how his mind thinks."
Between not being able to be franchise tagged and reportedly being unwilling to take a hometown discount to stay in New England, Brady has more leverage than ever as his first-ever free agency approaches.
Bruschi believes the Patriots could be the first to budge if rumors start flying of Brady getting offers from other teams.
"I think both sides right now, I think they have already had their conversation - ‘This is where we are. This where you are. OK, let's see where it goes.' I think this is leverage season because right now it is easy. That is what you think, that is what I think. Now the season is over, we're moving on," Bruschi said.
"But, what happens when this really gets real? When it starts to get real and you're starting to hear rumors about the Dolphins, or the Chargers, or another team and they are offering something to him and it is two or three years? You start to realize something if you're Robert Kraft, and I would think it's probably more Robert Kraft than Bill Belichick, but you're starting to realize, ‘Wait a second, this is Tom Brady that we're letting go. And is it possible that the one-year deal we offered, could it possibly be two because now it is real he could possibly be a quarterback for another team.'"
Of course, this can all be avoided if Brady and the Patriots agree to a contract extension before March 18. But in the meantime, that's a date Pats fans will have circled on their calendars.