Before he signed a two-year deal worth $50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, veteran quarterback Tom Brady was eyed by two teams – the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints. According to a report by Ian Rapoport on NFL.com, the Bears and Saints went under the radar in their pursuit of the 43-year-old quarterback, who left the New England Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl wins. The Saints initially had multiple conversations and inquiries about Brady when it was reported that Drew Brees will retire this offseason and will join the TV booth as an analyst.

Saints saw Brady as perfect replacement for Brees

Rapoport said the Saints and head coach Sean Payton saw Brady as a perfect replacement for Brees, who has been the team’s starting quarterback since 2006. Brady, for his part, expressed his willingness to replace Brees if he is really retiring and venturing into a career in broadcasting. Rapoport said Brady even mentioned his desire to several Saints players to make it reach the top level. However, the Saints pulled the plug on their plan to sign Brady when Brees decided to return for the 2020 season. Brady and Brees were set to make history when the Buccaneers and Saints meet on Sunday. When they take on the field, Brady and the 41-year-old Brees will be the first quarterbacks at age 40 and above to face off in an NFL game.

The two battle-tested signal-callers have a combined 151,987 passing yards and 1,088 passing touchdowns.

Brady turned down Bears due to cold weather

As for the Bears, Rapoport said they made an offer to Brady as part of their effort to boost their quarterback roster, according to his sources. However, Rapoport said Brady turned down the offer because he’s not keen on the idea of playing in cold weather again after a 20-year stay in New England.

Brady’s decision left the Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers as finalists, and the veteran quarterback decided to join Tampa Bay. The Bears, for their part, traded for veteran Nick Foles but eventually went with Mitchell Trubisky as their starter. When asked about their reported pursuit of Brady, Bears coach Matt Nagy did not confirm nor deny it, per Adam Hoge of NBC Sports Chicago.

Details of Brady’s incentives

Rapoport also provided details about Brady’s incentives with the Buccaneers that will allow him to earn a maximum $59 million. The contract carries playoff-based incentives, with Brady getting $500,000 if the Bucs make the playoffs, assuming he plays 75 percent of the plays. It will increase to $750,000 if they win a wild-card game or get a bye, and to $1.25 million with a divisional-round game. It will turn into $1.75 million if they make the Super Bowl while Brady will pocket an additional $2.25 million if they win the Super Bowl. Brady can also earn an additional $2.25 million in performance incentives if he records a top 5 finish in four of five categories -- passer rating, passing TDs, passing yards, completion percentage, and yards per pass.

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