Slightly different pictures are being painted of how talks between Tom Brady and the Las Vegas Raiders went.
UFC president Dana White dropped a bit of a surprise over the weekend when he said on a broadcast with Rob Gronkowski that he tried to orchestrate a deal that would get Brady and Gronkowski to the Raiders.
"I worked to put that deal together for Brady and Gronk to come to the Raiders," White said. "It was almost a done deal, and at the last minute Gruden blew the deal up and said that he didn't want him, and all hell broke loose. It was crazy. Brady was already looking at houses. ... So, Las Vegas would've had Brady and Gronk the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, except that Gruden blew the deal up."
The way White told the story makes it sound as though Gruden swooped in at the 11th hour and railroaded things. Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, NFL insider Ian Rapoport shared what he knew about the situation, which doesn't fully align with White's claim.
“They did investigate, they did look into it, I know that,” Rapoport said. “Once it came down to talking money, they were out, and I know they never made an offer. They danced around it but never made an offer.”
At the risk of quibbling over semantics, never making an offer doesn’t really line up with something almost being a done deal -- especially if the Raiders didn't even bother to make an offer.
“We all knew that there was some interest in the Raiders, we knew that Brady was interested in the Raiders," Rapoport said. "And there were some reports at the time around the Super Bowl that Brady could be with the Raiders and that there was some interest. All of this had been out there. Now, was it a done deal as was said on the Gronkcast or whatever? I don’t think so.
“Because to me, if Brady’s interested – and he was, why wouldn’t he be, that was a good team – if Gronk is interested, which we knew he was because he was always going to go with Brady, but the head coach is not interested at all, not even enough to make an offer, then how interested were they? ...
"To my understanding, once it became clear that he was going to have to actually give real money to Brady, and it’s not a lot, but it’s a lot for a quarterback that – it seems crazy because now he’s so good and he’s still so good and he’ll probably be good until he’s 60, but back then we didn’t know that he would still be good. There were some teams, the 49ers and the Raiders, that kind of were like ‘Yeah, we don’t know what he is, so we’re just going to stick with what we have.’ And the results have been the results."
Ultimately, the Raiders have continued to ride things out with Derek Carr, while Brady and Gronkowski ended up in Tampa Bay, where they won a Super Bowl in their first year with the Buccaneers.
Regardless of how serious talks got with Brady and the Raiders, the quarterback ending up in Vegas instead of Tampa would have significantly altered the last two years in the NFL.