During an interview with Sirius XM’s Howard Stern, Tom Brady said he had a strong indication going into the 2019 season that it would be his last with the Patriots. The sides had agreed to a deal last year that prevented the Pats from placing the franchise tag on Brady, but it does not sound like the team was definitively moving on.
The Patriots held out hope of re-signing Brady up until the week of free agency, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Brady’s meeting at Robert Kraft‘s house provided the Patriots closure on their centerpiece player, but Rapoport adds that going into that summit the Pats were still hoping Brady would inform them he wanted to stay.
The Brady saga took substantial turns, from the Raiders and Chargers preparing bids to the Titans being the top threat to the Patriots to Brady’s camp showing interest in the 49ers to finally the Buccaneers winning the sweepstakes.
Brady announced on the morning of March 17 he was leaving the Patriots. His agent began discussing a deal with the Bucs once the legal tampering period opened at 11am CT March 16, but the future Hall of Fame quarterback did not engage in discussions with Bruce Arians or Jason Licht until the evening of March 18. At that point, Licht indicated Brady was pitching himself to the Bucs. It appears it was Brady who wanted to exit Foxborough more so than the Pats desiring to start over with a cheaper option.
Brady signed a fully guaranteed two-year, $50MM deal with the Bucs. As of now, 2019 backup Jarrett Stidham is the odds-on favorite to succeed Brady. However, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are free agents. And while the Bengals are considering keeping Andy Dalton, his $17.5MM cap number makes him a potential release candidate.
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