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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Report: Tom Brady decision between two teams

Tom Brady

It sounds like Tom Brady has only one option if he’s going to leave the New England Patriots.

According to Chris Simms of NBC Sports, the San Francisco 49ers were Brady’s preferred destination, but are not interested in Brady and are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. Subsequently, Brady’s choices are either to return to the Patriots or sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This might not be the choice Brady wanted. The Buccaneers are reportedly desperate to sign the quarterback and could give him more money and a bigger say in personnel. However, they have not been close to contention. If Brady wants to win more Super Bowls, the best bet is to do what he’s always done in the past — take a team-friendly deal with the Patriots.

Brady’s market seemed much bigger not long ago, but the quarterback market moves fast. He has an interesting choice ahead of him.

Report: Patriots working to keep Devin McCourty for rest of his career

The New England Patriots continue to make moves to keep key parts of their defense together.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots are hard at work on a new deal for veteran safety Devin McCourty that would keep him with the team for the remainder of his career.

McCourty was set to become a free agent, but the Patriots keeping hold of his twin brother Jason was probably a factor here. The two have loved playing together and this will keep that arrangement in place. Devin McCourty has been with the Patriots since he was drafted in 2010, and it sounds like he’s very close to becoming a Patriot for life.

Report: Patriots offered Tom Brady a one-year deal at less than 2019 salary

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots are almost certainly not going to be the highest bidder for Tom Brady when free agency opens next week, but have they already made the 42-year-old quarterback an insultingly low offer?

Multiple reports claimed Brady and Bill Belichick had a conversation last week that was not very productive, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying the two spoke on the phone recently and the discussion was “business as usual.” However, WEEI radio host Dale Arnold was told by sources that there is a good reason Brady’s side may have viewed the conversation as one that did not go well.

According to Arnold, Brady was told by Belichick that the best the Patriots can offer the six-time Super Bowl champion is a one-year deal at a lower salary than he made in 2019.

“This is what I was told happened: There was a phone call between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. There was not a negotiation,” Arnold said on his show Thursday. “There wasn’t a, ‘We will offer you a two-year deal at X number of dollars.’ What I was told happened was the Patriots told Tom Brady that all they can do is a one-year deal at less money than he made last year because of the $13.5 million that gets tacked onto the salary cap and basically, ‘What we’re going to be able to do here Tom, is a one-year deal, but it’s not going to be for as much money as you got last year.’”

With the way the Patriots structured Brady’s contract last offseason, there will be a dead salary cap hit of $13.5 million in 2020 if he waits until after March 18 to sign — even if he returns to the Patriots. The only way to avoid that would be if Brady re-signed with the Patriots prior to the start of free agency, which would then result in only a $6.75 million cap hit.

The timing has had the potential to be a huge obstacle all along. Brady seems intent on testing free agency, and the only way the Patriots can avoid a huge dead cap hit in 2020 is to re-sign him before he hits the open market. There are other ways the team could get creative with Brady’s next contract, but the odds of him leaving increase dramatically the closer we get to free agency.

Brady made around $23 million last season, so taking less than that in 2020 would put him well below the top-paid quarterbacks in football.

Could Patriots offer Tom Brady a five-year deal?

Tom Brady

Tom Brady likely wants a multi-year commitment from the New England Patriots, and common sense would tell you Bill Belichick would prefer to take things year-by-year with a quarterback who will turn 43 before the start of next season. Brady would probably be happy with a two-year deal, but the middle ground between the two sides could actually be a contract that spans even longer than that.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss, who is as connected to the situation between Brady and the Patriots as anyone, proposed an interesting idea that would involve Brady signing a five-year extension with New England. While that may sound insane, it could have benefits for both sides.

For Brady, the Patriots would finally be showing they believe he has more than one year of good football left in him. There have been reports that Belichick still wants Brady back and thinks the four-time Super Bowl MVP gives the team its best chance to win, and a five-year deal could allow New England to spread the salary cap hit out.

As Reiss explains, a five-year deal could be structured to pay out $50 million in total guarantees over the first two seasons. The Patriots could then include an option bonus for the final three years (none of which are guaranteed), and Brady could play one more season in 2022 and then retire. Or, he could part ways with the team after having already collected his guaranteed money.

It seems like a virtual certainty that the Patriots will not be the highest bidder for Brady, but they may not have to be. If they show him a viable plan to improve their offense and commit to him for more than one season (at least on paper), that would likely be enough. While it doesn’t sound like Brady is going to get much help from Robert Kraft in negotiations, all hope is not lost for him and Belichick to work something out.

Report: Tom Brady, Bill Belichick had phone call that was not very productive

Bill Belichick

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have not been completely ignoring each other this offseason, but it doesn’t sound like the contact they have had with one another has increased the chances of Brady re-signing with the New England Patriots.

Brady and Belichick had a phone conversation on Tuesday, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reports. While the exact details of the discussion are unknown, a source told Curran the conversation was not particularly productive and that Belichick spoke with Brady as if the quarterback is “still under contract.”

A separate report from Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald said the chat “didn’t go well.”

Belichick is a man of technicalities, and Brady is still technically under contract with the Patriots. Remember, this is the same coach who refuses to discuss the specifics of any injury because he simply is not required to. He has also been known to neither confirm nor deny that the Patriots have signed a particular player until that player is officially under contract, even when the transaction is all but completed and has been widely reported.

From the way it sounds, Belichick is treating Brady the same way he would any other impending free agent. The coach has done the same with star players in the past, and it’s no surprise he is trying to treat a four-time Super Bowl MVP the same way. Of course, that may not sit well with Brady and could be interpreted as Belichick’s way of telling the 42-year-old he is not overly concerned about losing him in free agency.

If the Patriots truly want Brady back, they are eventually going to have to sit down and have a serious contract negotiation with him. At this point, it’s possible Belichick is content to let Brady shop himself around and see what’s out there. We know there are several teams that are preparing to offer Brady a contract, and perhaps Belichick knows Brady is not going to leave without hearing what New England has to say.

Belichick prides himself on not giving any of his players special treatment, though there have been instances in the past where it seems like he made an exception for Brady.

Patriots bringing back Jason McCourty; twin brother Devin could follow

Jason McCourty

The New England Patriots are bringing back a key member of their defense next season in Jason McCourty, and that may also give them a better chance of retaining one of their defensive captains.

The Patriots are planning to pick up the $4 million team option on McCourty’s contract for 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. McCourty’s twin brother, Patriots safety Devin McCourty, is also scheduled to become a free agent. Obviously, Jason’s return could make Devin more likely to re-sign with New England.

The Patriots signed Jason McCourty in 2018, and he played a key role on their championship team that year. Devin has been with New England since they drafted him in the first round back in 2010. The two have obviously enjoyed playing together and spoken on numerous occasions about how great it has been for their family.

Devin McCourty hinted that he could be contemplating retirement not too long ago, but he has since changed course. There’s a good chance both McCourty twins will be back with the Patriots in 2020.

Report: At least four teams are prepared to offer Tom Brady a contract

Tom Brady

It is always difficult to determine what the true market is for a free agent rather than the market the player’s agent is trying to create, but it appears there are plenty of teams with legitimate interest in signing Tom Brady.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said on “Get Up!” Wednesday morning that there are at least eight teams monitoring the Brady situation. The reporter says there are four of those eight who would sign Brady “right now,” while the others are keeping a close eye on the situation.

“I have spoken to executives with eight different teams that are at the very least monitoring Tom Brady’s free agency,” Darlington said, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. “They are going down this list having internal discussions right now saying, ‘Is this the right fit for our organization?'”

Darlington noted that the interest between the eight teams and Brady is not necessarily mutual. It seems unlikely that there are seven teams out there other than the New England Patriots that have a chance to sign Brady, but more interest is a good thing for any impending free agent.

Assuming the Patriots are one of the four teams that would sign Brady “right now,” a good guess for the other three would be the Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans. The Las Vegas Raiders may also be a part of that group, though a recent report claimed they are not planning to go all-out to land Brady.

Brady will turn 43 before the start of next season, so signing him would hardly be a no-brainer for some teams. He makes the most sense for a contender that believes winning the Super Bowl in 2020 is a legitimate possibility, and there is a new team in the mix that may be the most intriguing of all.