When the Patriots dealt Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay last week in exchange for a fourth-round pick and tight end Tim Wright, it was a reminder that there is no player who is immune from being traded away when coach Bill Belichick deems the time is right.
Even Tom Brady.
Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran said on Quick Slants last week that Brady "will almost certainly be gone" before his contract is up. Brady, for his part, hopes that's not the case.
"There’s nowhere I’d rather play, I know that," Brady told WEEI on Tuesday morning. "I love playing for this team and I love representing this team. Hopefully I can do that for as long as I can. When I suck, I’ll retire. I don’t plan on sucking for a long time. Hopefully that leads me to be in here, and there’s no place I’d rather be. I love this game and I love working hard at it.
"I’ve had a lot of people over the years tell me the things I couldn’t do, and I think that’s always been great motivation for me to go out there and accomplish things that I think I can do. Hopefully it’s to continue to play at a high level for a really long period of time."
Right now Brady is clearly the best choice for the Patriots under center, but the team spent a second-round draft pick on a quarterback this year. Theoretically there could come a time in Belichick's eyes when it is -- as he puts it -- "in the best interests of the team" to go with Jimmy Garoppolo over the future Hall of Famer.
Brady explained that he's going to continue to do everything he can to make sure that he's still head-and-shoulders above the next-best option for as long as possible.
"I like working hard at it," Brady said. "I’m going to try to be the best I can be for as long as I can do that. Hopefully the team values that. If they don’t, then I’ll probably have a tough day at some point. That’s what football’s all about."