Report: Tom Brady, Bill Belichick had ‘blowup’ over 2017 contract talks
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had their fair share of issues over the years, but they managed to downplay almost all of them and continue winning championships no matter how hard the media tried to drive a wedge between them. When it came to Brady’s contract negotiations, however, it is clear the two have not been on the same page in a very long time.
ESPN’s Seth Wickersham published a lengthy piece about the divorce between Brady and the Patriots, and in it he discussed how the tension between coach and quarterback hit a boiling point in 2017. It was around that time that Brady began heavily promoting his TB12 brand, and that and the growing presence of Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero was clearly a source of frustration for Belichick. However, Wickersham says Brady’s contract situation was always the biggest issue between Brady and Belichick.
Brady signed a series of short-term deals in his final years with the Patriots. When he was 39 in the fall of 2017, he made it clear he intended to play into his mid-40s and wanted an extension from the team that would allow him to finish his career in New England. Belichick refused to give him one, and Wickersham reports that Belichick and Brady had a “blowup” during a meeting to discuss the quarterback’s contract in late 2017.
Brady then met with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and is said to have received “mixed signals.” Not long after Brady’s meetings with Belichick and Kraft, team president Jonathan Kraft told the media Brady has “earned the right” to decide when he wants to leave New England. The implication seemed to be that Brady would leave when Brady was ready, but that’s not what happened.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Patriots added $5 million in incentives to Brady’s contract. He never reached the incentives and probably never wanted them. What he really wanted was a multi-year extension. When Belichick refused to give him one again last offseason, Brady had the Patriots give him assurances they would not franchise tag him. He also almost walked out of training camp because he was so disgusted with the situation.
Given everything we know, the report we heard about what the Patriots were willing to pay Brady for 2020 and beyond does not sound accurate. In the end, Belichick handled Brady the same way he would handle any other aging player with declining skills. Brady felt he earned the right to be treated differently, and you can certainly understand why. Belichick has never given any player preferential treatment in contract negotiations, and the way he the Brady situation unfolded proves The Hoodie never will.