Signing Tom Brady Would be a Downgrade for the 49ers
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Ever since his mediocre performance in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, Jimmy Garoppolo's status as a franchise quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has come into question. It's only natural that the absurd hot takes come into play since Garoppolo was a contributing factor for losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
One of the most recent takes regarding the future at quarterback for the 49ers was discussed by Bill Barnwell of ESPN. Barnwell mentions that when free agency kicks off that "the 49ers would be a very tantalizing opportunity" if Tom Brady were to actually leave the New England Patriots.
"If it were just about any other veteran quarterback, it wouldn't be worth discussing." Said Barnwell. "Tom Brady, though, is Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer grew up in the Bay Area with Joe Montana as his hero."
Now Barnwell does clarify that he does not see this becoming reality. But if it does, then the 49ers would have to consider acquiring Brady.
I am here to tell you that the 49ers should not sign Brady if he does end up leaving New England. In fact, signing Tom Brady would be a downgrade for the 49ers.
There is no long-term future with Brady, who will be 43-years old when the 2020 regular season begins. If the 49ers were to actually sign him, then they will have to cut ties with Garoppolo for salary cap reasons. I sincerely doubt that Brady would take a hometown discount in one of the most expensive areas in the country.
A move like that resembles what the Los Angeles Rams have done the last two seasons, which is salvage the future for a year of competing.
How did that work out for them? They only lost out on a bulk of their draft picks and have no breathing room with their cap space. All of that just for a few splash players. Granted, the 49ers are not losing out on draft picks if they sign Brady, but they will be hamstrung with the cap by adding a player they didn't need.
I understand the attractiveness to sign Brady, who is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, but the 49ers would not be getting a great quarterback. His name brings more chills than his actual gameplay. At this point in his career, Brady is not a better quarterback than Garoppolo.
Viewing the chart above that David Lombardi of The Athletic tweeted out, it measures a quarterbacks efficiency versus pass protection. It draws a correlation between the two to see how a quarterback performed with the protection they were given all season. The protection that Garoppolo had all season long was much worse than Brady's, yet he was the more efficient quarterback.
So Brady had the better protection, yet still struggled immensely. The talent comparsion does not hold weight here because of the efficiency measure. Brady was not the same in 2019 and who is to say that he will be better in 2020 as he turns a year older.
It's also worth adding that 2019 was the first full season of starting for Garoppolo. Not to mention that last offseason he spent it rehabilitating his surgically repaired ACL. He was figuring out how to be a quarterback again and it was evident as the regular season progressed. Just imagine what Garoppolo will do this offseason now that he can focus on his issues and improve upon them.
As much as the 49ers are in win now mode, bringing in Brady as an "upgrade" is not the answer. The issues with the 49ers do not stem from the quarterback position. Signing Brady would set this team back, not leap frog them forward.
Jimmy Garoppolo is undoubtedly the franchise quarterback of the 49ers and the right player to lead to this team back into the Super Bowl.