We heard earlier this week that the Patriots made “no tangible effort” to retain Tom Brady, which drove Brady to leave Foxborough. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com paints a slightly different picture with respect to Brady’s departure, saying that Brady himself believed he had squeezed everything he could out of his relationship with head coach Bill Belichick (who may have felt similarly). Had Belichick approached Brady and suggested that the two sides do what they could to make sure the six-time Super Bowl champ finished his career with the Pats, Brady may have been receptive, but that is not Belichick’s style, and Brady never really expected that to happen.
The Patriots’ usual impersonal approach to their business, which has served them quite well over the past two decades, also played a role. The Pats generally withhold offers from players they are interested in retaining but who are allowed to test the market. That way, they avoid bidding against themselves and insulting the player, but by keeping an open dialogue, they are able to pounce if the price is right. In Brady’s case, no negotiations took place since August, and player and team may have been waiting for each other to make the first move.
Now for more from Foxborough:
- So where do the Patriots go from here? Although New England is among the league leaders in dead cap charges for 2020 ($23MM), Reiss believes the club is in line for a reboot, not a rebuild. The Pats have a much rosier financial outlook in 2021, when they are projected to have roughly $100MM of cap space, so Reiss suggests they will look to get younger and clean up their cap situation this year so they can take full advantage of their flexibility next season.
- Ben Volin of the Boston Globe is more pessimistic about the Pats’ immediate prospects (though he does say that the salary cap ramifications stemming from a theoretical Brady re-up made it more logical for the team to part ways). He believes the club is in for a difficult rebuild, and while there do not appear to be any concrete trade rumblings, he suggests that New England could look into dealing WR Julian Edelman and CB Stephon Gilmore.
- Indeed, Gilmore — the reigning Defensive Player of the Year — could be seeking a raise after seeing less accomplished CBs get PAID this offseason, and dealing him would certainly yield a nice return of draft capital. It depends, presumably, on whether the Patriots feel they can retool on the fly or need to tear down.
- Despite being connected to Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton in offseason rumors, the Patriots have not discussed Dalton, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (via Twitter). We heard several days ago that New England would instead seek a cheaper veteran, and Howe suggests former Patriot Brian Hoyer could be in play (Twitter link). Hoyer, who was released by the Colts yesterday, is reportedly open to a reunion with the Pats.