April 24, 2024

With purchase of interest in Raiders not finalized, Tom Brady could still play (in theory)

No, Tom Brady’s purchase of a piece of the Raiders has not been finalized. Yes, until it is, Brady could return and play.

NFL Media makes that obvious point in a Week 2 Sunday Splash! item. It’s unclear why it’s being pointed out when, indeed, it is obvious. Maybe it’s because it’s Tom Brady. Maybe it’s because things are a little slow today. Maybe it’s because Brady is thinking about playing. (There’s no reason to think he is.) Maybe it’s because the Jets are looking for a quarterback. (There’s no reason to think they’d want Brady, since they seem to be all in with Zach Wilson, at least for now.)

It’s an obvious point because: (1) the proposed acquisition hasn’t been approved by owners; and (2) until it is, Brady — as a free agent — can sign with any team at any time.

The question not addressed by the item at NFL.com is whether the deal with the Raiders will ever be finalized. The recent move by the league to block the transfer of equity to employees (players and non-plays alike) sparked a complaint from Raiders owner Mark Davis. It’s believed he had hoped to hire Brady and to have Brady become an equity holder. The new rule quite possibly forced the planned arrangement back to square one.

If so, there’s no reason to think Brady’s effort to become part owner of the Raiders would be finalized during upcoming ownership meetings in October or December. It might just quietly not happen at all.

Which means that Brady could indeed come back and play for any team at any time. No one holds his rights. He’s free and clear to play again, if he would want to.

Again, for now, there’s no reason to think he wants to. During the latest episode of his SiriusXM show, Let’s Go!, Brady sounded more done than ever.

“The advice that I gave different guys is . . . ‘Just make sure you leave it all out there,” Brady said. “Because you just never want to have one drop left and think, ‘Oh, everyone’s down there playing and I’m sitting up here and I still feel like I could do it.’ And I don’t feel like that. I feel like I’m just super content with my decision, where I’m at in life.”

That’s not how it was supposed to be. Brady said in 2021 that he didn’t want to turn on a game and say, “These guys suck.” He didn’t want to think he was still better than the guys playing. In 2014, he said he’ll retire when he sucks. He clearly didn’t suck in 2022.

To justify the 180, Brady said earlier this year that he believed it when he said it.

He could still play if he wanted. He’d be in the top half of all quarterbacks in the league. So, on this second full day of games for the 2023 regular season, the Sunday Splash! is he can. The splash of cold-water reality is he won’t.

Unless and until he eventually says, again, that he believed something he previously said when he said it.

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