Now, let us shift to looking at some “what-if” scenarios; players the Saints COULD HAVE acquired.
We’ll start with Tom Brady. The 43-year-old quarterback is currently the signal-caller for the division-rival Bucs, but believe it or not, he could’ve been in New Orleans.
It has been reported on multiple occasions that Brady and the Saints had a mutual interest in one another this past offseason if Brees retired. Obviously, Brees returned, which led to Brady signing in Tampa, but I believe that there are a lot of reasons to believe that Brady would have preferred New Orleans.
For starters, Brady’s style of play meshes very well with Payton, as he and Brees are similar in that they are best when running efficient offenses that create yardage after the catch and limits negative plays.
We have seen the amount of transition Brady has needed to adjust to playing under Bruce Arians, so Payton obviously would have been an appealing match for him.
Furthermore, whereas Tampa Bay hasn’t won a lot of games in recent years, New Orleans had won 13 games in three straight seasons, and if Brady was trying to capitalize on his remaining window of play, he might as well go to an organization with a similar “all-in” matchup.
Would Brady have been an upgrade compared to Brees this season? Although Brees beat him twice, I think he would have been. His 7 yards/attempt aren’t extremely impressive, but judging him off of that would be doing him a disservice.
His receivers are only generating 4.1 yards after the catch/reception, which is significantly lower to Brees (5.2). Meanwhile, his average depth of target (8.2 yards) is significantly higher, and the Bucs are amongst the league’s leaders in drops.
With Brady under center, the Saints would have retained their offensive efficiency AND would be able to throw the ball down the field. If Michael Thomas is accumulating up nearly 100 yards per game with Taysom Hill, could you imagine the damage he could do with Brady.
Furthermore, could you imagine the storylines and the overall buzz about Brady replacing Brees? Had this happened, not only do I believe New Orleans would be the premier team in the NFC and very close to the Chiefs, but they would have been a much more fun team.
Meanwhile, having Brady around also would solve their short-term quarterback situation for multiple years, allowing them more time to pursue a cheap starter through the draft. When you add it all up, bringing in Brady would have been more beneficial than Brees ultimately deciding to return.