It reads like a wacky what-if storyline. Maybe it's a different reality from Marvel's multiverse. Maybe it's some kind of sci-fi alternate reality. You know, where the good guys are bad, and the bad guys are good. It's the San Francisco 49ers versus the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Not this season, but next. It's Tom Brady versus Jimmy Garoppolo.

There's just one little bizarre twist. It's Garoppolo of the Patriots versus Brady with the 49ers.

What is this madness, you ask? It's the latest hot-take from former NFL defensive end Chris Long, who wrote a guest column for Sports Illustrated on Tuesday. While reading it, you have to wonder if Long is even taking himself seriously with the over-the-top predictions — and I use the word "prediction" very loosely.

First, some background.

Brady recently signed a two-year, $70 million contract extension which will automatically void on the final day of the 2019 league year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. What does that mean? Nothing. Probably. Maybe?

Actually, because the contract contains language that prevents the Patriots from using the franchise or transition tag on the quarterback in 2020, it means Brady will — very briefly — become a free agent at that time. Yes, one of the greatest to ever play the game could become available for other teams to pursue.

"Someone can call Tom Brady at 4:01 (Eastern) at the start of the league year in 2020 and try to sign Tom Brady," Rapoport said on NFL Network last week.

Now, Brady probably isn't going anywhere. If anything, he may decide to retire at the end of the upcoming season, especially if the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl. The contract structure helps the Patriots should the future Hall of Famer choose to do so.

But what if he wants to test the free agency waters and look at other locales? That's where Chris Long comes in. He goes down the seemingly fictional path in a world where Brady abandons his NFL home of 20 years and ends up with — gasp — the 49ers?!

"There's only one place I could see him going -- back to the Bay," writes Long.

Brady is, after all, from the area and grew up loving the 49ers. Whenever the two teams play each other, the Patriots quarterback is always asked about his childhood fandom and love for greats with names like Montana and Rice.

But wait a minute; the 49ers already have a much younger franchise quarterback. Why would they try to sign Brady who will be 43 at the start of the 2020 season?

Long continues with this wonderfully creative and somewhat entertaining tale.

"Let's say Jimmy G has a modest year (I don't think he does) and looks like Tannehill 2.0," Long writes. "Next offsesaon, Brady hits the market and expresses interest in returning home to suit up for the team he adored as a teenager (in 1990). San Francisco releases Garoppolo and he ends up back in New England, where Belichick beautifully repurposes what's perceived as damaged goods."

Are you still with me? As if this wasn't entertaining enough, Long takes it one step further and predicts the now Garoppolo-led Patriots earn another Super Bowl berth, where he will play — drumroll please — Brady and the 49ers.

Long admits that the last part might be crazy, but doesn't dismiss the first part for some reason.

"You probably want what I'm smoking," Long adds, "but you'll be disappointed when I tell you it's just a lot of free time."

The 49ers gave up a second-round pick in this past draft to acquire Garoppolo in a mid-season 2017 trade and then signed him to a five-year mega-deal, so it's safe to assume they envision the quarterback being in the Bay Area for a while. Of course, there is the out for San Francisco in the contract after this season. You know, in case Garoppolo flops on a weekly basis this season. The team would just be hit with a $4.2 million cap penalty, which is paltry in the grand scheme of things.