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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Report: Tom Brady, Patriots have made no progress in contract talks

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots would like to sign Tom Brady to a new contract before the start of free agency if the quarterback is planning to return, but the two sides apparently have not sat down at the negotiating table yet.

Brady and the Patriots have not yet engaged in contract talks, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports. However, Reiss notes that the lack of negotiations is consistent with the typical flow of an offseason for an NFL team, as coaches are typically scouting college players and preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine at this time of year.

Brady said after the season that there have been open lines of communication between him and the Patriots, which likely means he has spoken with Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, or both. Even if no numbers have been discussed, that is a positive sign.

The biggest issue with Brady’s impending free agency could be that the Patriots would have to absorb a $13.5 million dead salary cap charge if Brady is not on the roster when the 2020 league year begins on March 18. That is the same day teams can begin signing free agents, so things could get complicated if Brady is committed to visiting with other teams before making a decision. Although, there is a “legal tampering” period beginning on March 16 where players can negotiate with teams. If Brady does end up returning to New England, it’s possible he could speak with other teams in the two days before the official start of free agency and then still sign with the Patriots before the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. on March 18.

If Brady does plan to return to the Patriots, there’s no need for him to put them at a disadvantage with their salary cap situation. That would make it more difficult for New England to spend money on other players, and having an improved supporting cast is likely Brady’s top priority as he heads into his age-43 season.

The Patriots reportedly believe only one team is a true threat to sign Brady away from them, so they may not be all that concerned about having a decision from Brady before March 18. If the six-time Super Bowl champion is deciding between two teams, he should, in theory, need less time to ponder.

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