Tom Brady told Patriots owner Robert Kraft that he wants to play for six or seven more years. At 39 years old, that puts Brady on track to become the oldest quarterback to take a snap in NFL history, potentially playing until he’s 45, 46 years of age.
That seems like a completely ridiculous premise, but the guy is playing better than he ever has, and there have been no signs of his slowing down. The Patriots are still winning Super Bowls, so why wouldn’t he stick around for as long as he can?
With Brady wanting to play until he’s 45, it got us thinking: Which other quarterbacks can reach that age, too?
Aaron Rodgers, 33
Rodgers is very similar to Brady. He’s all business, takes care of his body, is obsessive about nutrition and has showed no signs of slowing down. At 33, Rodgers could easily play until he’s 45. Of course, that’s a long way off, but has his arm strength fallen off? No. Is he less accurate than he once was? Absolutely not. Can he still make plays outside the pocket? He sure can -- he's still one of the fastest QBs in the league.
Rodgers is one of the best pure talents at quarterback in NFL history, and with that physical blessing, it’d come as no surprise to see him play until 45. Not to mention, with only one Super Bowl ring, his desire to keep winning will only continue to grow.
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Drew Brees, 38
Brees has thrown for at least 5,000 yards in four of his last six seasons, and his arm has yet to fall off. Jokes aside, Brees is as durable as they come, and although his arm strength is declined a hair, he’s still incredibly effective. He completed 70 percent of his passes last season, while also leading the league in attempts and completions.
If the Saints want to prolong his career, they can take a load off his back and utilize the running game more. That would be the smart thing to do, at least, and it’s something the Saints should absolutely explore. And even if he does decline in the next few years, Brees seems like the type of guy who would mentor young quarterbacks as a backup.
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Josh McCown, 37
McCown has been a backup for most of his career, and that’s not likely to change. The new Jets quarterback could get a chance to start for New York this season, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he mentored the Jets’ young guys. Even though he may not be an above-average quarterback, McCown is going to be around for a long time.
He’s as passionate as they come, playing through numerous injuries during his career – most recently in 2016 after suffering a shoulder injury. he’s going to be the next Matt Hasselbeck, who stays around for a long time as a mentor to young QBs.
Eli Manning, 36
Manning is the modern-day ironman at quarterback, having never missed a game in his career since becoming the Giants' starter midway through the 2004 season. He hasn’t had as much as a nosebleed, so injuries aren’t likely to prevent him from playing until age 45.
And if he’s anything like his brother or father, the passion to play isn’t going to subside any time soon, either. He’s shown no signs of wanting to step away from the game. Granted, he’s only 36 years old, but that’s not exactly young. Peyton played until he was 39, and that was after multiple neck surgeries. Eli has no injuries to speak of.
Philip Rivers, 35
Rivers isn’t the most athletic quarterback in the league. In fact, he’s probably one of the slowest. However, he can still sling it, even if his arm strength has declined slightly in recent years. He’s also incredibly durable, having played every game since he was given the starting job in 2006. With consistency like that, why should we believe he can’t play another 10 years?
Well, for one, he’s still playing at a high level. His interceptions spiked a bit last season, but look who he was playing with. His supporting cast was terrible, and it led to a minor decline in his numbers. The only thing that may stop Rivers from playing for another decade is his desire to spend time with his family.