After winning Super Bowl 53, Rob Gronkowski took his time in deciding whether he would retire or not. The New England Patriots stayed patient, and it ultimately backfired on them. According to Adam Shefter, Bill Belichick won’t be so patient with Tom Brady and his pending free agency.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the New England Patriots future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady’s contract is expiring on March 18, and it seems as of late everybody and their grandmother has an opinion on the matter. Even gossip websites like TMZ have been in on the rumor mill, and it feels like everytime I read an article about Brady and his contract situation, I’m just reading the same regurgitated information over and over again. The issue is, nobody has yet to report any actual facts and quote any sources who has an idea about what’s going on with the Patriots and Brady in terms of actual negotiations. If I was going to be honest with all of you, I debated tackling this subject because I didn’t want to be just be another person adding to all the noise. But, with all of the rumors, opinions, and frankly fake news, Adam Shefter has a theory, and out of everything that I’ve heard ,it actually makes the most sense. But, before we get into it, remember it’s a theory, not an absolute.
Last year, the Patriots didn’t get any clarity from Rob Gronkowski on whether or not he was going to retire until way after free agency had started, and it really hurt the Patriots. We’ve all heard the story by now that Jared Cook was willing to sign with New England, but he wasn’t comfortable signing with the Patriots and playing second fiddle to Gronkowski. Ultimately, if Gronkowski would have made his decision to retire earlier, then the Patriots could have signed Cook, and that probably would have changed a lot about the Patriots struggling offense this season. Essentially the Patriots lost Gronk and Cook all at the same time, all because Belichick decided to stay patient. Some would say it was a rare misstep from Belichick and that he botched the situation, and after reexamining everything, it looks like he kind of did. The Patriots missed out on the top tight ends who were available and were stuck fielding 38 year old Ben Watson, Journeymen Matt Lacosse, and 2018 seventh round draft pick Ryan Izzo. Schefter believes that the Patriots will take a very different approach to the Brady situation.
“Here’s the situation: I don’t believe the New England Patriots are waiting until March 16 to get an answer from Tom Brady. Last year, Rob Gronkowski wound up retiring in late March. I don’t know the conversations they did and didn’t have before, but New England missed the window on free-agent tight ends. So I don’t think they’re going to let Tom Brady go to free agency, all of a sudden, sign with Team X, and then on March 20, say ‘Well, what do we do at quarterback now?’ That’s not the way that organization operates.”
Like I said, Schefter is not reporting anything he’s heard from sources, he’s just making an educated guess, or at least that’s how he presented it. Sometimes with Schefter he knows more than he’s telling us, so I also don’t think it’s being too optimistic to think that we could see some sort of resolution sooner rather than later is that far of a stretch.
Out of all the crazy and wacky speculation and opinion I’ve heard about Brady’s contract situation, Schefter makes a lot of sense and makes a really good point regarding how urgent the Patriots might be to bring these negotiations to a close. Schefter’s opinion has nothing to do with whether or not Brady will be returning to the Patriots, but it points out that no matter which way this may go, Bill Belichick may have a timeline to get this done. I have to wonder if Brady does feel pressured and he gets some sort of indication that teams could be interested in him, does he flip the bird at Belichick and Robert Kraft? Again…. Speculation and opinion, not fact.
Away from just not wanting to miss out on possible free agents like Teddy Bridgewater, or do I dare say Andy Dalton (Throws up in mouth), there is also a financial situation that needs to be taken care of and timelines that actually have to be met. Alex Barth of 985 the Sports Hub broke it down very clearly for Patriots fans.
“The Patriots have multiple motives to resolve Brady’s contract (one way or the other) as quickly as possible. First, there is the issue of his dead cap money, a result of the two “bogus years” at the back end of his last contract. If Brady re-signs with the Patriots before the March 18th deadline, his dead cap hit of $13.5 million will be spread out over the next two years, meaning he'd count for $6.75 million against the 2020 cap, on top of whatever deal he signs (and then another $6.75M in 2021). If he signs a contract on or after March 18th, whether or not it’s with the Patriots, they'll be on the hook for the full $13.5 million next season.”
This entire situation is far from ideal, but one that can’t be ignored. This isn’t one of those moments that we can pretend it’s not happening and it will just go away. The media will not allow Patriots fans to forget that Tom Brady is going to be a free agent, and it’s my hopes that they get this thing solved very soon, not because I’m nervous, I’m just sick of hearing about it.