Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

Last season, Tom Brady entered into select company on a couple of levels. He wasn’t only the third quarterback to win four Super Bowls as a starter, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw — he became the fifth quarterback to win a Super Bowl after his 35th birthday, joining Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett and John Elway.

In truth, this could be considered a pretty good time to be an older quarterback. This season, six projected starters will be 35 or older (Peyton Manning, Brady, Drew Brees, Josh McCown, Carson Palmer and Tony Romo), and while it’s early to handicap the field, it seems to be a safe bet that at least four of them will make the postseason. But which one of them has the best chance of joining Brady in that exclusive company and being able to boast of winning a ring after his 35th birthday?

Here’s a look at the field:

Peyton Manning: Despite the fact there was talk he wouldn’€™t return for an 18th season, Manning is back in camp with the Broncos. After seeing how he struggled to the finish line last year with Denver, there are questions about his health, as well as a few members of his receiving corps. At 39, he’s slated to be the oldest position player in the league this season, and if he wins a Super Bowl this year with the Broncos, he’d be the oldest quarterback in NFL history to win a title.

Drew Brees: The Saints’ signal-caller turned 36 in January, and while he’s talked about playing into his 40s, he shown little sign of slowing down. He led the NFL in several major passing categories in 2014, including passing yards (4,952, first), completed passes (456, first) and passing yards per game (309.5). Despite the fact that New Orleans was 7-9 last season and underwent some serious personnel changes in the offseason, as long as he stays healthy, Brees will certainly be able to keep the Saints competitive for the foreseeable future.

Josh McCown: Truthfully, we’re just including him on this list because he’s become the default starter for the Browns this season. McCown, who will turn 36 in July, has had some nice moments for the six other teams he’s played for over the course of his career, but at this stage with Cleveland, is a longshot at best to become the next plus-35 quarterback to win a title.

Carson Palmer: The former Bengal, who will turn 36 in December, was looking good as a possible darkhorse last season, as he led the Cardinals to a 6-0 start. Then, he wrecked his knee and had to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines. If he stays healthy this year, it’s reasonable to think that Arizona has progressed to a point where it can be a serious playoff threat in the NFC West.

Tony Romo: Well, he’s certainly not lacking for confidence when it comes to the 2015 season. The Cowboys quarterback, who celebrated his 35th birthday last month, was able to get the first playoff win of his career last year against the Eagles, and if a catch is truly a catch, then there’s the very real chance that Dallas pulls the upset on Green Bay in the divisional playoffs and is going against the Seahawks in the NFC title game. If the Cowboys can keep the running game moving after losing DeMarco Murray and Romo is truly over any past late-season or playoff meltdowns, then Romo has a chance to join fellow Cowboy Staubach and the rest of the over-35 crowd that took home a title.

For some historical perspective, this current group is good, but it likely pales in comparison to the plus-35 quarterbacks from 1997 and 1998. In 1997, Elway (37), Boomer Esiason (36) and Steve Young (36) topped the plus-35 QB club, with Elway winning the first of back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The following year, there were eight quarterbacks age 35 or older, a group that included Elway, Young, Bubby Brister (who went 4-0 with Denver in relief of Elway), Doug Flutie, Randall Cunningham and Vinny Testaverde. Those plus-35 QBs from 1998 were also successful — Elway won another Super Bowl, while Cunningham led a passing game with Randy Moss and Cris Carter to the NFC title game. Meanwhile, Testaverde got the Jets to the AFC title game, while Young and Flutie also guided their teams to the postseason.

One more thing: While we included just the projected starters for 2015, there are a few other quarterbacks who also have an excellent chance of joining the over-35 championship club sooner rather than later. Eli Manning, who already has a pair of Super Bowl wins on his resume, will turn 35 in January. Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are 33, while Aaron Rodgers is 31. While we are celebrating the current crop of over-35 quarterbacks, given the skill level and resume of some of their counterparts in the 30 to 35 age range, there’s the possibility that we’ll have to wait a few seasons for the next senior signal-caller to be the last man standing on the postgame podium.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Another former Patriots linebacker is back in New England.

Another former Patriots linebacker is back in New England.

After Brandon Spikes returned just over a week ago, Dane Fletcher has returned this week, as according to multiple reports Fletcher has signed a one-year deal and the free agent linebacker is present at Gillette Stadium for the start of OTAs.

Fletcher played the first three years of his career with the Patriots, serving as a backup linebacker and a core special teamer. He signed with the Buccaneers last year as a free agent, playing in all 16 games and finishing with 39 tackles.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Phase Three of the Patriots offseason program opens on Tuesday morning at Gillette Stadium with the first of three practices. According to Article 21, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, here are the rules and regulations around Phase Three:

(iii) Phase Three. Phase Three shall consist of the next four weeks of the Club’s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Subsections 5(a) and 5(c) of this Article and Appendix G to this Agreement, during Phase Three each Club may conduct a total of ten days of organized team practice activity (“OTAs” or “OTA days”). The restrictions set forth in Subsection 5(b) of this Article shall not apply to OTA days. The Club may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase Three. A maximum of four days of OTAs may be conducted during either the third week or the fourth week of Phase Three, with the Mandatory Veteran Minicamp (Article 22, Section 2) to be held during the other week. During weeks in which the Club conducts only three days of OTAs, the Club may also conduct a fourth day of non-OTA workouts, but such activities shall be subject to the rules governing Phase Two workouts, as set forth in Subsection 2(b)(ii) of this Ar­ticle. During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase Three of the Club’s offseason workout program or any minicamp.

Rookies will be made available to the media this week, with first-round pick Malcom Brown set to meet with reporters on Wednesday, and some of the rest of the first-year players on Thursday. For the media, the lone access to OTA workouts will be on Friday at Gillette Stadium.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day dead

According to the Associated Press, Tom Brady‘s appeal of his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate won’t be heard by Wednesday, which was initially believed to be the 10-day deadline for the hearing to be held.

However, late Monday night, there was some confusion about the overall timeline. In an e-mail with WEEI.com, legal analyst Michael McCann said that May 27 deadline for the hearing that was reported is questionable for a few reasons, but is ultimately a “non-issue” and won’t have a sizable impact on the proceedings.

“I’m not sure May 27 is the deadline, when the appeal appears to have been filed on May 14, and 10 business days from that would be Friday, May 29 — since it doesn’t include the day it was filed, or Memorial Day,” said McCann, who is also the founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

“Also, usually in an event like this when a party has a right to a deadline, that deadline is considered voluntarily waived or postponed when that party takes an action that could cause delay,” McCann added. “Here, the NFLPA petitioned commissioner Roger Goodell to recuse himself. That would seem to give him grounds to take longer than normal.

“My expectation is this deadline proves to be a non-issue.”

In addition to the four-game suspension for Brady, the Patriots were also fined $1 million and stripped them of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017 for their role in Deflategate.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

For Patriots fans, it was picture perfect weather to rally behind their picture perfect quarterback.

For Patriots fans, it was picture perfect weather to rally behind their picture perfect quarterback.

According to the “Free Tom Brady” rally Facebook page, over 600 people committed part of their Memorial Day Sunday to show their support for the embattled Patriots quarterback in Lot 4 of Gillette Stadium.

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans showed their disgust for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and their support of Tom Brady. (Maggie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans Attend "Free Tom Brady" Rally

Fans show their support for Tom Brady Sunday at Gillette Stadium. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.
Greg and Chris discuss where we are with Tom Brady's fight against the NFL in the Deflategate suspension.

[0:01:52] ... can never this cute little dig and airmen or writing ways and Peyton Manning left the colts. Saying. That robberies never been missing. In I was mistaken in chip I don't get the fact that you ...
[0:03:45] ... we want my my point pain patriot fans you are now the Oakland Raiders owner felt. Like I'll be an embrace that embrace the hate from other teams in other cities. All at west Phil welcome ...
[0:05:05] ... without extreme duress. You look at the track record of the National Football League when it goes into court. And you look at the track record in the National Football League when it goes up against someone like Jeffrey Kessler. You don't feel really good about your chances not to say Castro's undefeated in Nazi Kessler. You know it might move might not slip up in court here there but when you look at the overall body of work when you look at what he's been able to do for a number of people he's represented as part of the National Football League players association. You you know you speak to a case like this. If you're Tom Brady you feel good about going into court against the National Football League point. And it's as your mind or opinion changed at all. In regards to Tom Brady and what he would accept what he might except in terms of punishment because they are bigots that you. I've felt steadfast ...
[0:06:35] ... out in this case and he's going to fight going. I think Tom Brady would rather gnaw off his own right all government been miss a single snap. Regular season practice or otherwise I think he's going to go he's gonna go all out in this case I mean he's gonna continue to fight this. I also think that. The National Football League the players association in this. There role is going to become increasingly important we saw at the Smith on Friday outside the lines on Friday talk about this. And talk about how the world report that a great job for the climate delivered exactly what the client wanted. I think we are going to hear more and more from the National Football League players association. And I believe I saw this in a couple of places this week I believe this to be the case. ...