Patriots want answer from Tom Brady before start of free agency?
Tom Brady is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career in less than two months, but the New England Patriots may not be willing to let him take his time making a decision.
In an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Thursday morning, Adam Schefter said he believes the Patriots will want an answer from Brady regarding whether or not the quarterback plans to return before free agency begins on March 16.
“I don’t believe the New England Patriots are waiting until March 16 to get an answer from Tom Brady,” Schefter said, as transcribed by Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. “Last year, Rob Gronkowski wound up retiring in late March. I don’t know the conversations they did and didn’t have before, but New England missed the window on free-agent tight ends. So I don’t think they’re going to let Tom Brady go to free agency, all of a sudden, sign with Team X, and then on March 20, say ‘Well, what do we do at quarterback now?’ That’s not the way that organization operates.”
Gronkowski dragged out his retirement decision for several weeks last year, and one of the reasons Jared Cook chose the New Orleans Saints over New England was because the then-free agent was unsure if Gronk would still be around. However, not allowing Brady to test free agency could complicate things.
Brady is reportedly looking forward to meeting with other teams and wants to see what else is out there, which makes since considering he has never experienced free agency. That said, he would almost certainly be open to the Patriots giving him a new contract before March 16, but the question is whether the team is willing to commit multiple years. Brady probably wants at least a two-year deal, while the Patriots would likely prefer to take it year by year.
If Brady is planning to gather offers from other teams and bring them back to the Patriots, Bill Belichick may simply decide to go in another direction. It would be a shock if New England winds up being the highest bidder for Brady, anyway.
Brady has never taken top dollar in his career, and he probably doesn’t care that much if he gets it now. What he wants is a supporting cast that will allow him to contend for another title. The Patriots, obviously, did not give him that this season.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft may have given a hint about the team’s intentions with Brady this week, but the situation will become more complicated the longer it drags out.