The Loop

The new favorite to land Tom Brady is .... the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

NFL: OCT 05 Patriots at Buccaneers

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Coronavirus or not, the NFL would have taken center stage on Monday anyway. Even if we were cooking up March Madness brackets, arguing over a James Harden travel or dissecting the final round of the Players, the beginning of NFL free agency would still be the No. 1 topic in the sports world.

But now it's literally the only show in town, and the star of that show is Tom Brady, the most sought-after 42-year-old quarterback in the history of the sport. All signs pointed to Tennessee for Tommy, given his relationship with former Patriot Mike Vrabel, the Titans head coach. Not to mention the fact the team is in win-now mode. But the Titans committed to Ryan Tannehill, announcing a four-year, $118 million contract last week.

That left two logical options for Brady: stay in New England or go to the West Coast and play for the Chargers or Raiders. According to the oddsmakers, a new favorite to land TB12 has emerged, and it's not the Pats, L.A. or Vegas. It's the .... Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Those are pretty significant odds for a team that wasn't really rumored to be in the Brady mix until a few days ago, when there were reports that the Bucs were willing to Brady whatever he needs to sign him. On Monday, Tampa Bay franchise-tagged linebacker Shaq Barrett, which means Jameis Winston will be a free agent, as Ian Rapoport noted on NFL Network Monday morning. This doesn't mean the Bucs won't resign Winston, but it's clear there's interest in Brady.

Like we noted here, any scenario where Brady leaves New England would be ideal, because it would be such a huge story. The Bucs are an ideal spot for a QB with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the outside, plus tight end O.J. Howard, who has underwhelmed so far in his career but could be revived by Brady. Suddenly it sounds like a good match, which means he's just going to stay a Patriot.