Tom Brady reportedly did not ask Patriots to match offer, wanted to leave
The New England Patriots were reportedly willing to match the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offer to Tom Brady, but apparently the four-time Super Bowl MVP never gave them a chance.
Brady officially signed his contract with the Bucs on Friday, and the deal is reported to be worth $50 million guaranteed over two years. It also includes an additional $9 million in incentives, a no-trade clause and a guarantee that the team won’t franchise tag Brady when the deal expires. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots would have matched the contract. Brady never gave them a chance.
The #Patriots likely would have done this contract, though Tom Brady never came to them with his desire to return. So there was no offer from NE. In the end, only the #Bucs and the #Chargers made offers. The #Raiders sat it out, as well, never offering Brady a deal. https://t.co/Pep1omas6O
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 20, 2020
What exactly does that mean? It’s hard to say. On the surface, it looks like Brady never gave the Patriots a chance to match the offer because he had no interest in returning. However, keep in mind there was a report earlier in the week that the Pats did not make a tangible effort to bring Brady back.
We may never know if Brady actually wanted to return or if Bill Belichick genuinely wanted him back. Robert Kraft has certainly made it sound like he would have done what he could to keep Brady, and the Patriots owner even seemed to hint that issues between Belichick and Brady preceded the divorce.
When I spoke to Robert Kraft, he made this analogy about Tom Brady's departure: "Think about loving your wife & for whatever reason, there’s something – her father or mother – that makes life impossible for you & you have to move on but you don’t want to." @nflnetwork #Patriots
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2020
Reports early on made it seem like the Patriots were willing to spend big to keep Brady, so perhaps they did not communicate that to Brady early enough. It’s possible Belichick tried to slow-play the negotiations and Brady felt he deserved better and decided he wanted a fresh start. Or, maybe he wanted a fresh start all along. The answer likely lies somewhere in between.