According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Patriots expect Brady, who is 39 years old, to play at least another three to five years and could work on another contract extension as early as next offseason. Five more years would put Brady at 44 when he retires. Brady's current deal runs through the 2019 season.
While it should not surprise anyone, it is interesting to see a rough time frame in place. While age and shift in desire can hit a player suddenly, Brady has never been shy about plans to lengthen his career at any cost. Brady has only missed one season (2008) due to injury. He missed four games this season thanks to an NFL suspension.
Depending on who is asked, the former sixth-round pick is either already the greatest quarterback in NFL history or will be with a win on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. The GameDay Morning crew debated as much on Sunday. Brady has publicly credited his diet, exercise and rest routine for helping him play extraordinarily well into his late 30s. Despite missing four games this season, he still managed to throw for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and two interceptions. He planted himself firmly in the MVP conversation, as he does almost every year.
Peyton Manning's regression hit suddenly and seriously, even though many assumed the two-time Super Bowl champion could pull off a similar run. Brady has not had the same level of health issues, and operates in an offense that could hum at maximum efficiency regardless of who is catching passes. Manning bowed out at age 39 after a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Making Garoppolo available this offseason will spark a quarterback market that would seem to ebb and flow with Tony Romo, Kirk Cousins and Colin Kaepernick. As Rapoport mentioned on Sunday, the Patriots backup is already a favorite of Falcons offensive coordinator and soon-to-be 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.