EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 27, 2013

Bye, bye Brady?

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

FOXBORO — Back in 2009, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick flirted with the adage that “nobody is untradeable,” when he dealt an in-his-prime, potential Hall-of-Famer Richard Seymour to Oakland for a first-round pick.

It’s now time for the coach to skip the small talk and get right to the real proposal.

Championship-starved — trust me, Belichick needs another Lombardi Trophy like I need air to breathe — since 2004, despite four trips to the conference title game and a pair of Super Bowl appearances, the Patriots have to contemplate this conundrum.

Are Tom Brady’s best days behind him?

My opinion? Yes. He’s still elite, top three or four. But he’s not the best of the best any more. We’ve seen too much in big games the last handful of years.

Can Belichick make enough moves to supply Brady with enough quality parts around him to capture the ultimate prize?

My opinion? No. While I believe they can compete at the highest level, particularly in the weak AFC, there are too many key holes to fill (more on that later).

So, without any further beating around the bush, it’s time for Patriots football CEO and head coach to consider what several million people probable deem unthinkable: Should the Patriots trade Brady?

I can hear it now: “Are you an idiot, Longo?”

No ... at least hear me out.

Do you think Belichick is happy with his quarterback play the last five playoff defeats? Isn’t that why he pays Brady three times as much as the other “stars,” so he can make up for their mistakes?

In this instance, after another January disappointment against a driven, rugged, physical but soon-to-be dismantled Ravens team, sending Brady away this off-season would be the best for all parties.

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