Robert Kraft: ‘My hope and prayer’ is Tom Brady remains with Patriots or retires
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft understands that Saturday night’s loss may have been Tom Brady’s final game with the franchise, but he does not want to see the six-time Super Bowl champion in another uniform next season.
Hours before the Patriots were eliminated from the postseason at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, Kraft spoke with Peter King of NBC Sports about the uncertain future of Brady. He said it was important to him when negotiating Brady’s latest contract that the quarterback would be free to do what he chooses after the season, but Kraft clearly wants him to stay.
“I love the young man like he’s part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who’s (accomplished what Brady has) has earned the right to control his future after 20 years,” Kraft said. “And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he play for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest.”
Brady, who said immediately after losing to the Titans that it is “pretty unlikely” he will retire, indicated to King that he is open to playing for another team if things don’t work out in New England.
“I’ll explore those opportunities whenever they are. If it’s the Patriots, great. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I love playing football,” he said. “I still want to play football. I think I still can play at a championship level. I’ve just got to go do it. I’m motivated to get back to work and training.”
Brady almost certainly does not want to leave the Patriots. He probably doesn’t want to be paid top dollar, either. The point of signing team-friendly deals has always been to allow New England to build a championship roster around him, and the Patriots did not do that this season. They clearly need more weapons on offense, and Brady would likely sign another team-friendly contract if they improve the offensive line and get him some actual threats to catch passes and make plays.
There have been numerous signs this season that Brady may be on his way out of New England, but that could just be a matter of an impending free agent not ruling anything out. At the end of the day, it would be better for both sides if Brady came back for another season with an improved supporting cast. It’s unlikely that a 43-year-old quarterback — even one as decorated as Brady — is going to step in with a new team and lead them to a championship.