Las Vegas is all-in on Tom Brady.
With the Raiders poised to pursue the six-time Super Bowl champion this offseason, other members of Sin City’s sporting community are making their own impassioned pitches.
“I’m a Boston guy, through and through. I want you to go with the Patriots,” UFC President Dana White told Brady over the phone on an Instagram livestream on Wednesday. “But let me make my last pitch: Las Vegas would love to have you here at the Raiders. The stadium, the facility is incredible. The training facility that they have outside of Vegas is unbelievable. It’s a 45-minute flight from LA, your kids and your family could live there, you could fly back and forth. We want you to come to the Raiders.”
Las Vegas currently plays host to some of the biggest UFC fights each year and is the new home of the Raiders.
“You know I’ve been pitching you now for a month,” White said. “Come on, now, brother. Get to Vegas!”
“I know it’s been a lot of patience for me and obviously, being where I’ve been for 20 years, it’s been an amazing experience,” the 42-year-old Brady replied. “I don’t know what the future holds right now.”
Chatter surrounding a potential Brady-Raiders connection began after a photo snapped at UFC 246 of the Patriots quarterback and Raiders owner Mark Davis having a seemingly friendly tete-a-tete went viral. Some speculated that Davis was trying to lure Brady into joining the team for its inaugural season in Vegas, a move that would have violated league tampering rules as Brady doesn’t officially become a free agent until March 18.
“That was about Tom was going to fight [Manny] Pacquiao here to open the stadium,” Davis joked when asked about the conversation. A day later, Brady characterized himself to Westwood One as “open-minded” about leaving the Patriots.
The non-committal response to White is yet another nebulous inkblot the football community has been left to dissect during this free-agency frenzy, the collection of which have cast serious doubt on his return to New England.
Teams can begin speaking with Brady come March 16, two days before free agency opens. If the Patriots cannot reach an agreement by then, their beloved signal-caller will become an unfettered commodity for the first time in his 20-year tenure with the team.
“I’m just trying to be patient through this process, my first time going through it,” Brady told White. “In the meantime, I’m going to spend a lot of time with my family over the next 10, 12 days and we got a little vacation planned, which I’m looking forward to.”
The future Hall of Fame quarterback could command upward of $30 million per year on the open market. With his viable years as a starter dwindling, Brady is expected to prioritize joining a team he feels can win immediately over maximizing a paycheck.