Tom Brady’s retirement could give the Bears several off-season gifts – NBC Chicago

Brady’s retirement could be a blessing for the Bears in many ways originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Tom Brady era is officially over. For good this time.

The 45-year-old seven-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement Wednesday morning with a video posted to his social media. Brady retired last offseason but did not retire after just 40 days, opting to return for one more run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The legendary quarterback insists that this time there will be no replay.

With Brady hanging up, many teams thought to be looking for a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback must now look elsewhere. The Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and Bucs must now pivot their quarterback carousel plans away from dreams of having the GOAT for them.

While the Bears were never going to swim in the Brady pool this offseason, his retirement is expected to impact their offseason plans in several ways.

We’ll start with the obvious.

With Brady no longer a primary option in the off-season quarterback market, several teams will need to turn their attention to Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.

The Raiders, leaving Carr, have long been considered Brady’s suspected landing spot. Now, the Silver and Black will either have to make a big push for Rodgers — should the Packers decide to trade the 39-year-old — or consider a potential trade in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Raiders currently own the No. 7 overall pick and have the future trade assets to potentially lure the Bears into a draft deal. If nothing else, the Raiders’ potential entry into the trade talk allows the Bears to create more leverage in potential talks with the Houston Texans (No. 2 overall) and Indianapolis Colts (No. ° 4 in total).

Brady stepping back from the carousel makes Rodgers’ drama the star attraction of the offseason, with the Bears poised to take advantage of teams that don’t land their nemesis or Carr.

The Jets now appear to be a potential entrant in the scheduled draw for the No. 1 pick.

The Jets have a lineup ready to win but have a gaping hole at quarterback. After Zach Wilson’s implosion in Year 2, head coach Robert Saleh probably can’t afford to bring Wilson back next season, or he could risk losing the locker room.

If the Packers don’t trade Rodgers or the Jets aren’t the winning bidder, New York may have to pivot to another swing at a draft quarterback. The Jets own the No. 13 pick in the draft, so a trade up to No. 1 would likely cost them multiple first-round picks, similar to what the 49ers gave up in 2021 to go from No. 12 to No. 3 .

Carr is the joker in this scenario. The Raiders must trade or cut him before Feb. 15, when his $40 million salary will be fully guaranteed. If the Jets are interested in Carr, they need to make up their mind quickly. There is no guarantee Rodgers’ situation will be resolved by then.

If the Jets choose to wait for the possibility of a trade with Rodgers, it could put them in a bind if he is not traded or dealt with elsewhere. That could push up the desperation meter on whether to make a potential big draft move for Bryce Young or CJ Stroud.

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That brings us to the Bucs, who currently have no quarterbacks.

Tampa Bay could choose to go the veteran route, grabbing Carr or maybe Jimmy Garoppolo and trying to win a mediocre NFC South with someone under Brady’s weight class.

If the Bucs choose not to go the patch-and-play route, they could opt for a medium- or large-scale rebuild.

Tampa going that route could potentially open the door for the Bears to make a run for the No. 1 wide receiver they desperately need in Mike Evans.

At 29, Evans is still at the peak of his powers and would give the Bears the ball-hopping threat they need to help quarterback Justin Fields take the next step.

The Bears traded their second-round pick for Chase Claypool, but should have several asset drafts to come once the expected first-place trade is executed.

Let’s say the price for Evans is a second-round pick or a future first. In that case, I would expect the Bears to be very interested in trying to add a go-to receiver who can allow Claypool and Darnell Mooney to operate in roles they are better suited to handle.

After 23 seasons, Brady bid farewell to the NFL on Wednesday and may have unknowingly given the Bears a parting gift in the process.

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NBC Chicago

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