EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

January 27, 2013

Bye, bye Brady?

It might be time to trade Tom now, setting Pats up for future

(Continued)

Belichick would have the chance and the arsenal to re-stock this team for another eight-year run.

Replacing Brady would be a chore. But it can happen. Better yet, you don’t have to replace him, just find a quarterback 75 percent as good as Brady, who can run an offense.

Look at the Colts with Andrew Luck, the Niners with Colin Kaepernick, Seattle with Russell Wilson and Washington with RGIII.

Teams are succeeding rapidly with young QBs right now.

Find your guy in the draft. Give Ryan Mallett the reins if he is ready. Or seek a replacement elsewhere.

Remember that guy Matt Cassell? He led you to an 11-5 mark in 2008 when Brady was on the shelf. Chances are he could be had for a song in Kansas City, where he probably doesn’t fit into new coach Andy Reid’s system.

Shortly after the Super Bowl, Alex Smith will be seeking a new home. He was a couple botched punt returns away from leading the Niners to Super Bowl XLVI.

New faces are out there, and the Patriots would at that point be in superior bargaining shape.

Belichick’s toughest sell on the Brady deal would no doubt be the Kraft family. Ownership is married to the franchise QB financially.

No Brady means no assuredness of 10-to-13-win seasons. That means the fan base could falter.

But isn’t Belichick supposed to be bigger than a franchise QB? Isn’t he the real brains behind this operation?

In an era where NFL franchises are fumbling to fill seats weekly, the Pats’ season-ticket wait list was last tallied at about 55,000 and rising.

Of course, the Celtics had a similar list during the Larry Bird Era. A couple years after his retirement you could have lobbed hand grenades from the bleachers and not hurt anyone during some Celts games.

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