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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Report: Tom Brady almost walked out of training camp over last contract negotiation

Tom Brady

With Tom Brady having announced on Tuesday that he will not return to the New England Patriots next season, there will now be a desperate attempt from fans and the media to find out where it all went wrong. There are obviously many factors that led to the divorce, but the last real contract negotiation Brady had with the team may have done permanent damage.

Brady entered last offseason in the final year of his contract, and he wanted the Patriots to give him an extension. He previously sought an extension in 2018, but New England ended up building incentives into his contract instead — ones he never reached. When the Patriots finally agreed to give Brady a raise prior to last season, it was apparently in response to the six-time Super Bowl champion becoming disgusted with the organization.

According to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, Brady considered walking out of training camp last year when the Patriots were not going to make any changes to his contract. What he really wanted was a commitment beyond the 2019 season, but the two sides ultimately settled on a raise and an assurance that Brady would not be hit with the franchise tag this offseason. That paved the way for Brady to start a new chapter elsewhere, which is what he will now do.

Brady and the Patriots never made any real progress in contract talks this offseason. From the way it sounds, Bill Belichick only wanted him back at a price you would expect to have to pay for a 43-year-old quarterback whose skills are declining — not the greatest quarterback of all time. Belichick likely felt the same about Brady’s contract a year ago, which is how we got to where we are today.

Robert Kraft seems to be pointing the finger at Brady a bit, but it’s hard to believe Brady had zero interest in returning to New England. He wanted to feel wanted, and Belichick simply may not have wanted him.

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