FOXBOROUGH – This time, Tomastar Brady has chosen his trainer: Brady will start for Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay next season. His departure from New England marks the end of an era for the Patriots, and the start of the team’s most important ever “Who’s that Replacémon?”
Brady gets more money in the new contract but, more importantly, he no longer trusted Belichick. Three years ago, Belichick reportedly offered to trade Brady to a different trainer instead of Brady’s then-back-up , Jimmy Gengaroppolo. The near-betrayal came on the heels of Brady’s MVP performance in the team’s historic League Championship comeback. Belichick ultimately traded Gengaroppolo instead, but the damage was done. Brady planned his own future. His emotional parting tweet conveyed his disappointment and determination:
The top position will be difficult for the Patriots to fill. Brady was the team’s critical starter since 2001. Last year was already a tough test for New England’s “next ‘mon up” philosophy, as the team struggled to replace retired Rob Aggronkowski’s offensive production. They never truly recaptured their old form, even with Brady at the helm. Next year, the team will be without its fossil.
Barring any trades or unexpected catches, the team has three options. The current presumptive replacement is Jarrett Stidhampharos. Jarrett is a potentially electric but yet–unproven 2019 fourth-round draft pick. The other two options are Brianorith Hoyer, another fossil, who returned for a third stint on the team, or the mostly motionless Pinecody Kessler. If none of them meet high-level expectations, though, Belichick will likely need to look to the draft to pick a starter from the next generation.