You don’t need to scroll through Tom Brady’s resume; he was the most successful quarterback for the largest dynasty the NFL has ever seen. But after 20 years with the New England Patriots, Brady is on the verge of becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. It is safe to say that his fate will be the dominant offseason story.

Numerous factors have brought Brady and the Pats to this point. Where the two sides go from here is anyone’s guess. Let’s go through a list of questions to let everyone know where things are and where they could go from here. You can start

Do you really think Brady and the patriots will get a divorce?

Not exactly? But also, maybe? The situation really seems to be so intricate, at least right now.


Brady will turn 43 in August, first. And as much as it has challenged the aging process of life, it definitely won’t do it forever. Yes, Brady was cut back to launching Julian Edelman and a group of Kittery lobsters by the end of last season. Yes, New England has the oldest league roster and legendary offensive coach Dante Scarnecchia has retired again. But even Brady no longer plays at the elite level. The Pats won 12 games in 2019, but were also rebounded on the Wild Card Weekend for the first time in 10 years.

Is that what could lead to a separation?

Not exactly. This situation has been happening for some years. Brady has said on several occasions that he plans to play until he is 45, if not more. And its competitiveness is legendary. Bill Belichick, in his role as head coach, understands Brady’s value for the Pats in the here and now. But in the other role of general manager of Belichick, he knows he has to weigh Brady’s present value against sustaining a stable future for the franchise, in part preparing for the day when Brady’s performance will fall off a cliff. Belichick famously avoided sentimentality in making staff decisions; It has long been his preference to switch from a player a year earlier than a year late. Brady presents a true test of the limits of that philosophy.

The collaboration between Brady and Belichick could be near the end. Boston Globe / Getty Images

Ah. How is all this going?

As reported by Tom E. Curran for NBC Sports Boston, Brady has wanted a multi-year contract since before the start of the 2017 season, but the Pats have preferred to proceed on an annual basis. Last year it also became frighteningly obvious how talented New England was short of points and with a large receiver, although the team took flyers about Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon who didn’t go out. At the same time, Curran suggested that an agreement similar to the two-year, $ 50 million covenant that Drew Brees received from the Saints in March 2018 may have been enough to make Brady happy.

I’m confused. Wasn’t Brady’s contract last summer a two-year extension worth $ 70 million?

It was initially reported this way, but those figures were a mirage. Try to be with me because it gets a little complicated. The Pats have agreed to give Brady an increase from $ 15 to $ 23 million in 2019 – still far below the top of the market. Its maximum allowed number, due to a previous restructuring, would have been $ 27 million, but the new agreement has reduced that figure to $ 21.5 million. The deal has extended Brady until 2021, but that part is an accounting gimmick: the 2020 and 2021 seasons will be canceled on March 18, the last day of the current championship of the year 2019. Those 2020 and 2021 seasons will continue to exist strictly for capitalization purposes, however: $ 20.25 million of what Brady received last year was a signing bonus, which allowed New England to spread the cap cap ($ 6.75 million per cap year) until 2021. That money must ultimately be considered, so if he were to sign this offseason elsewhere, a $ 13.5 million dead cash tax would hit the Patriots limit in 2020. Understand?

I think so. Is Brady really driving a deal so hard?

It seems so, at least for the moment. Remember, last summer he managed to convince the team to agree not to use the franchise or transition tag on him once the deal was canceled in March. So Brady clearly provided an opportunity to take advantage of this offseason, in part because New England doesn’t seem to have an obvious successor for him.

Shouldn’t Jimmy Garoppolo be that boy?

Has been! The Patriots chose Garoppolo in the second round of 2014 with all the intentions of governing him to take over, after all Brady was about to turn 37 years old. Garoppolo didn’t play much, but he proved himself capable when he won a couple of starts to open the 2016 season while Brady was suspended. But Brady is back and he just … continued … to win, which complicated the team’s succession plan. With Garoppolo’s rookie deal that will expire after 2017 – which means he was also in the queue for a big payday – the Pats decided to entrust him to the 49ers. Even if it wasn’t what Belichick wanted to do.

Wait. What?

Oh yeah. Did you miss that? A few months after the trade, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported that it was Kraft who made the decision to treat Garoppolo over Belichick’s objections. Take a load of this:

Two weeks before the November 1 deadline, Belichick met with Kraft to discuss the quarterback’s situation. According to the staff, the meeting lasted a long day, lasting half a day and rejecting the other Belichick matches. The office buzzed. The meeting ended with a clear mandate in Belichick: swapping Garoppolo because it would not have been part of the team’s long-term plans and then, once again, finding the best quarterback in the draft and developing it. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks his players and coaches: he did his job.



Jimmy Garoppolo, right, apprentice under Brady for almost three years. Boston Globe / Getty Images

But hasn’t Brady voluntarily taken less money for a long time?

Oh yes. NFL wage experts estimated Brady started from anywhere $ 25 million for about $ 40 million on the table not insisting on getting the best dollar. He also admitted that he did it for the good of the team in a league with a salary limit, and the Pats long had a lot of depth because they favored spending on intermediate-level veterans and finding low-cost value.

Did Brady always do it?

No, actually. In 2010, he signed an agreement that made him the highest paid player in the league. But by 2013, he accepted a renegotiation that reduced his annual salary to free up roof space. In February 2014, it agreed to convert $ 24 million in future into fully guaranteed cash into a partial accident-only guarantee, which allowed Kraft to avoid putting all of the $ 24 million as collateral as required by the CBA.

Do you think the Pats have sweetened the pot on the side for him or nah?

There have been long rumors about this, but no definitive evidence. The outlines of the 2013 deal came together when Brady flew across the country on Kraft’s private plane. Around the same time, Brady purchased land in the suburbs of Boston where he was able to build a villa near the Kraft house, with Kraft and his son Jonathan providing support during the zone approval process. Has anything like buying land been done to “compensate” Brady as a limit to the limit? Nobody proved it. And what about the fact that the Patriots are customers of Brady’s personal life and training company? According to Mike Sando of The Athletic, the league investigated this and found no violations.

Is Brady still good?

It is, but its performance certainly slipped last year, even taking into account its pass-catchers. He ranked 17th in Total QBR (53.7). PFF has an adjusted completion percentage metric, which takes into account throws, throws, spiked balls, beaten passes and being hit when passing. Brady was 20th overall in both ADJ% (72.9) and ADJ% when he threw from a clean pocket (76.7). It was 21 ° in ADJ% when under pressure (59.5). His advanced statistics were not at all kind (click to enlarge):

In addition, PFF’s Sam Monson recently noted that Brady in 2019 had his lowest total pull shots in the past decade. But Monson was also careful to point out that the veteran still has a lot of potential. “Brady is still able to make those big plays, even against good defenses,” wrote Monson, “but again, all signs indicate that he needs more help than he ever did before.” This probably explains Belichick’s reluctance to engage with him over a year.

Where are things now?

Brady he said the two sides spoke, but there was not much movement. On the morning of the Super Bowl, the NFL network reported that the Pats are willing to offer more than $ 30 million (presumably for a year), but Curran has since reported that no parameters have been set and has described the $ 30 figure. millions as “an albatross in the proceedings”. Deadlines are approaching which will force a sort of showdown.


The new league year begins March 18 at 16:00 ET. At that point, Brady’s deal with New England is canceled and he can become a free agent without restrictions. On March 16 at noon ET begins the so-called legal tampering period, when teams can start negotiating with players from other teams. Until then, the Pats still have an exclusive bargaining window with Brady. However, the scouting combine will take place from February 23 to March 2. Virtually all of the league’s acquaintances will be in Indianapolis for most of the combine week, which means there will be a lot of tampering (winking) going on (tinkering winking winking).

Where else could it sound, really?

Many teams it might make sense, actually. The Raiders no longer owe Derek Carr guaranteed money and have just moved to Las Vegas – who is better to be the face of the Brady franchise? The chargers have just decided to go to Philip Rivers. Brady is close with Titan head coach Mike Vrabel of Vrabel’s game times. Could the Titans run to Brady if the price Ryan Tannehill asks is too steep? Colts need a QB; Bears probably do too. And what could the Buc do if they decide to get away from Jameis Winston? Be prepared for all kinds of silly voices. Hell, there has already been one!

Tom Brady was teammate with Titan coach Mike Vrabel. Wesley Hitt / Getty Images

What was that?

Former cowboy Cowboy Michael Irvin apparently heard by “very significant people” that Dallas could mistake Dak Prescott for running to Brady. This is a grade A hearsay informed by vaguely anonymous speculations: a true classic of the NFL news offseason genre. But there’s more to the timing corner here than you need to be aware of …

OK … how?

The draft isn’t until late April, so patriots can’t wait for Brady until then. But there are also a lot of moves in the quarterback market once the tamper window opens: Rivers, Prescott, Tannehill, Brees and Winston could all be out there for the teams to bid on. (However, Prescott and / or Winston could get the franchise tag at any time between February 25th and March 10th, which could take them out of business before the bonanza starts seriously.)

Strange things can also happen during these negotiations. Former GM Jets Mike Tannenbaum recently said “Get Up” by ESPN who sold Brett Favre by coming to the Jets telling him that he could fish on Monday and Tuesday on owner Woody Johnson’s farm. Favre wasn’t convinced yet, so Tannenbaum had sent a pair of camouflage pants to Favre to get the deal over the goal line.

Has. Will Kraft intervene again?

Interestingly, second Ian Rapoport of NFL NetworkKraft reportedly made it known that he wants Brady to test the market so that if an agreement were to happen with the patriots, the two sides would know that they would have to be together. But that plan has more potential pitfalls than it seems.

What do you mean? Like?

Again, timing. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated discontinued him earlier in the week. Basically, Belichick will need some answers by March 18, if not earlier than 16, due to all the possible domino effects. Breer recalled that when Wes Welker was able to measure his worth with other teams in 2013, the Pats had signed Danny Amendola to replace him. And last year, New England ran away from free agent Jared Cook – without knowing that Rob Gronkowski was planning to retire, which he did a few weeks after the free agency ended. The Pats had passed their search for Cook, but they could have made more difficult offers if they had known that Gronk would not return.

Likewise, with all those other QB veterans potentially out there, how long does Belichick wait to pull the trigger on Brady at the risk of missing out on a potential replacement he might want? Everything will get complicated, but deadlines tend to have a way to force the two sides to make a deal.

Tom Brady talks to Joe Montana at Super Bowl LIV. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

So what do you think will happen?

I know that the quarterbacks of the stars have passed in the past – Joe Namath to the Rams, Joe Montana to the Chiefs, Favre to the Jets and Vikings – but there is something unique in the Brady-Belichick-Kraft partnership that leads me to think that they will find him a way to keep the band together for at least another year.

I have a hard time imagining that Brady wants his last game in New England to be the loss of jokers for the Titans, or that he wants his last Patriot shot to be the pick-6 that sealed the defeat. If Belichick can give him some help, there is good reason to think that he and Brady can run together for a title together. Then again, Brady put the building he built next to Kraft’s on the market last August; maybe he already knows he’s out.

Dom Cosentino is a senior feature writer on theScore.


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