Tom Brady believes he can still be the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots for another few years despite the fact that he'll turn 40 before the new season begins, leading many to wonder if the Patriots will deal backup Jimmy Garoppolo for what could be very valuable draft picks. Peter King reports that the Patriots are now expected to keep Garoppolo on the team instead of cashing in on his value.
On Tuesday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe explained why keeping Garoppolo is the smartest move the Patriots can make, and why there's no guarantee Tom Brady will still be great at the age of 40.
Shannon: Tom Brady will not be around for as long as he thinks
"The Patriots should keep Jimmy Garoppolo. And I know Tom Brady has convinced a lot of people - I read the column that he had in MMQB with Peter King - that he’s going to play five or six more years. He’s convinced all the Patriots fans, and he’s convinced the guy that sits across from me that he’s going to play five to six more years.
I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but I will anyway. He’s not playing five or six more years. OK.. he might, but he won’t be in a Patriots uniform, so let’s just leave that. I give him two more years.
And coach Belichick understands that ‘if I don’t have that guy, I really don’t have a chance to be successful.’ Because he’s seen since he’s been the head coach how many different quarterbacks the Dolphins have had - the Jets, the Buffalo Bills - and he’s just been riding along, chilling with Tom Brady, winning the division every year while these guys go through coach after coach after quarterback after quarterback.
He also understands [that] if you don’t have a quarterback, what chance do you really have of winning? Since Tom Brady started quarterbacking in the NFL in 2001, the Cleveland Browns have had 23 starting quarterbacks. How’s that working out for them?"
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: Old players inevitably hit a cliff
"Skip, I know what you’re doing, and a lot of people make this mistake. You look at ‘well he played so great last year, 39 years of age, had one of his best years! He’s going to continue this.’
But do you know what happened when Peyton Manning was 37 years old? He threw for 5,467 yards, 55 touchdowns. They scored the most points in NFL history, had four different guys with at least 10 touchdowns. And then he followed that up into 38 with 39 [touchdowns] and 15 interceptions, 4,700 yards. And then he stepped off a cliff.
Rich Gannon, remember he won the MVP? Played two more years after that. Guess what, Skip, played 10 more games. It happens fast."
Ron ChenoyRon Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: Father Time will catch up with Brady
"What you’re not looking at, also, is that the four games he missed - that was four games of licks that he didn’t have to take. And as you get older, you can get the body faster, you can get the body stronger, you can get it to withstand more stress. You can’t make it younger. He’s going to be 40. And as you get older, the licks, the dings, they linger longer.
Because when you’re young… I could play a game on Sunday, I was really ready to play another game on Tuesday or Wednesday. And then it started to be I was ready to play on Thursday. And then again I was ready to play on Friday."
Kevin JairajKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon: Garoppolo is the most suitable successor for Brady, whenever the time comes
"They should keep Jimmy Garoppolo. It looks to me, and I’ve seen a lot of guys play, but it looks to me that he’s the best quarterback they’ve had since they’ve had Tom Brady, that I believe he can take the reins. Now I’m not going to say he’s going to get three Super Bowls or he’s gonna be just like Tom Brady, because what Tom did is an anomaly.
But I believe looking at his small body of work, and it’s a small sample size, but I feel more comfortable with him being there and being the starter after Tom moves on as opposed to someone offering a first-round, or a lot of picks."
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: You cannot compare Tom Brady to any other QB
“First of all, you have insulted Tom Brady by putting him in the same sentence with Peyton Manning and especially Rich Gannon, because this man is shattering the mold.
He is so far beyond Peyton Manning in the way he takes care of his body that it’s laughable to resort to saying ‘well look what happened to Peyton.’ This isn’t Peyton Manning, this is Tom Brady.”
Geoff BurkeGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: Tom Brady's desire will allow him to keep playing
“Because he says it, I believe it. He is going to play until he is 45 years of age. The fire… it’s all about the fire. It’s not really about your body, it’s about what’s burning inside you. Tom Brady is not tired of going to the meetings. He loves the meetings, he loves Garoppolo, he loves Jacoby Brissett, he loves Josh McDaniels. And he is going to hold off Father Time by putting in the work that you have to put in that’s going to keep him on another level.
…. The point is, he’s figured out how to make 45 the new 35 for quarterbacks. With his diet, with his flexibility training, with the right kind of weightlifting. He’s taken it to a level that even you did not know about when you were 35 and 36 years of age."