Tom Brady

Tom Brady Unlikely To Re-Sign With Pats Before Free Agency

If the Patriots are going to re-sign Tom Brady, they would like to do it before March 17. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reminds us, Brady’s present contract voids on that day, meaning that his $6.75MM cap hits for 2020 and 2021 will accelerate onto New England’s 2020 cap. The same will be true even if the Pats and Brady re-up for one season, but if they agree to a two-year pact, the team could at least spread the dead money hit of $13.5MM over the next two seasons.

However, sources tell Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that it would be “extremely surprising” if Brady were to agree to a new deal with the Pats before March 17, and Brady is preparing to discuss a future with other teams. A reunion with New England is not out of the question, but it is far from a certainty at this point.

La Canfora says Brady, who will turn 43 prior to the start of next season, will “do his due diligence to assess all realistic possibilities,” and he is anxious to embrace free agency for the first time in his career.

Neither Volin nor La Canfora offered any speculation as to which teams could be interested in Brady, but the Chargers have frequently been mentioned as a possibility, and the Colts and Raiders also make sense to some degree. One way or another, the Pats legend wants to serve as a mentor to a young QB and leave whatever franchise he ends up with in good shape when he does decide to retire.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Lions, Giants, Dolphins

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

  • Miller would be positively stunned if the Bengals don’t draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall and the Redskins don’t grab Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 pick.
  • With that in mind, Miller feels the draft truly starts at No. 3 overall, where the Lions pick. Sources tell Miller that they’ll look heavily at Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown. Then again, it’s a prime trade-back spot – teams like the Dolphins, Chargers, and Panthers could move up to land a QB.
  • Unless new head coach Joe Judge sways him in a different direction, Giants GM Dave Gettleman is expected to look at edge-rushers, left tackles, and wide receivers with the No. 4 pick. “He can’t help himself with linemen, so slot your top-rated offensive tackle there,” one scout who previously worked with Gettleman said. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas rank among the top tackles in this year’s crop.
  • No team has done more work on Oregon’s Justin Herbert than the Dolphins, who own the No. 5 pick and two more selections later on, Miller writes. The Dolphins will almost certainly go QB here, then shift their attention to offensive tackle, edge-rusher, and running back help.
  • The same source who tipped Miller off to the Cardinals‘ love of Kyler Murray last year says they’re wild about Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. But, internally, they also feel that the offensive line need is too big to overlook.
  • The Raiders, with two picks in the first round, are looking to go defense and wide receiver, Miller hears.
  • The Bills are already nervous about other teams leapfrogging them for wide receivers, Miller hears. The Bills own the No. 22 overall pick and nine total selections in the draft.
  • The Patriots are impossible to read, but none of Miller’s sources believe that they’ll draft a quarterback early on. Tom Brady has vowed to continue playing, but he’ll also explore his options in free agency.

Patriots’ Tom Brady Won’t Retire

Tom Brady‘s season is over, but his career will continue. On Wednesday, Brady took to social media to declare that he will continue playing in 2020.

[RELATED: Tom Brady, Robert Kraft Discuss Future]

You don’t always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me,” Brady wrote. “Because I know I still have more to prove.”

Not everyone would agree that Brady still has more to prove, even after the Patriots’ surprising ouster at the hands of the Titans. Brady, who will turn 43 before the start of the 2020 season, is a six-time Super Bowl champ, three-time MVP, 14-time Pro Bowler, and, undeniably, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Meanwhile, Brady is on course to reach free agency for the first time in his career. The Patriots are reportedly willing to allow Brady to explore his options, even though they do not have any other viable options at the position.

For his part, owner Robert Kraft doesn’t want to see Brady in another uniform.

Before the season started it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year. You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to nine Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right,” Kraft said recently. “And you know, my hope and prayer is No. 1, he play for the Patriots. Or No. 2, he retires. … But I just hope and pray we fit into his plans.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tom Brady, Patriots

His season complete after Round 1 for the first time since the 2009 season, Tom Brady is on the doorstep of free agency for the first time. As of now, the Patriots’ 42-year-old quarterback is not planning to retire. Brady followed up those comments soon after and did not sound like someone ready to leave the game.

I’ll explore those opportunities whenever they are. If it’s the Patriots, great. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know. I just don’t know,” Brady said, via Peter King of NBC Sports. “I love playing football. I still want to play football. I think I still can play at a championship level. I’ve just got to go do it. I’m motivated to get back to work and training.”

Brady received a pay raise from the Patriots last year, but Tom Curran of NBC Sports notes the future first-ballot Hall of Famer wanted the type of extension Drew Brees received from the Saints in 2018. Brees re-upped for two years and $50MM two Marches ago, while the Patriots preferred a year-to-year arrangement entering his age-42 season. Brady would become a free agent in March and do so for the first time.

Robert Kraft has frequently made clear he does not want the all-time great playing for another team. The Patriots owner told King it was difficult to approve Brady’s request for 2020 flexibility, and he now hopes the team fits into the passer’s plans.

Before the season started it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year. You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to nine Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right,” Kraft said. “And you know, my hope and prayer is No. 1, he play for the Patriots. Or No. 2, he retires. … But I just hope and pray we fit into his plans.”

Bill Belichick will play a key role in determining if Brady is back. But rather than give the 20-year veteran a raise, Belichick is likely to allow Brady to see what his options are in free agency, Curran adds. With 38-year-old Philip Rivers a free agent-to-be, the Chargers have been linked to Brady. The Raiders could loom as a dark horse, King writes.

Having traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers years ago, the Patriots do not have a realistic Brady heir apparent that would keep them on this level. Allowing Brady to walk would create a fascinating scenario where this century’s premier franchise must aggressively chase a quarterback. At the same time, the Pats will likely need to upgrade their pass-catching corps to entice Brady to return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tom Brady Unlikely To Retire?

Whenever the Patriots’ 2019 season ended, there was always going to be rampant speculation about Tom Brady‘s future, given that he is eligible to become a free agent for the first time in his long and illustrious career. And now that the Titans have ended New England’s hopes for a repeat, let the speculation and rumor-mongering commence.

At his post-game presser, Brady was, predictably, asked about whether he would retire or continue playing. And while Brady understandably said he didn’t want to discuss his future so soon after a difficult playoff loss, he indicated that he was not planning on retiring. “I would say it’s pretty unlikely. … Hopefully unlikely,” Brady said (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com).

If he does return for his age-43 season, Brady may not be back with the Patriots. He has been connected to the Chargers, and there is also some thought that he could join longtime OC Josh McDaniels if McDaniels accepts a head coaching job with the Panthers. The Colts, who have an uncertain QB situation but who otherwise have a strong roster and a bevy of cap space, could also be a fit.

However, Brady has not ruled out a return to Foxborough. “I love the Patriots. They have the greatest organization,” Brady said. “Playing for [owner Robert] Kraft all these years and coach [Bill] Belichick, there’s nobody who has had a better career than me, just being with them. I’m very blessed. I don’t know what the future looks like, so I’m not going to predict it.”

The Patriots cannot use the franchise tag on Brady in 2020, and if he does choose to come back, the Patriots would need to add more offensive firepower. It’s fair to wonder if New England would have prevailed over Tennessee if it had one or two more reliable receiving weapons, and the prospect of several more targets combined with the Pats’ sturdy defense could make the prospect of another year in Massachusetts attractive.

And Brady surely doesn’t want his career to end on a pick-six, as it would if he chose to retire this year. But as he said, “[w]ho knows what the future holds? We’ll leave it at that,”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Will Not Re-Sign Antonio Brown

The Patriots could really use another playmaker on offense. Quarterback Tom Brady lashed out at his teammates on the sidelines during last week’s loss to the Texans, and his frustration is understandable. As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes, Brady is averaging the fewest yards per attempt (6.72) since the 2002 season, and part of the reason is that his receivers just aren’t getting open. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Brady has thrown the most tight-window passes over the past three weeks, completing just 30% of them.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says that Brady has been spending a great deal of time with his wide receivers in the team facility and that he has tried to be more of a leader than he has been in recent seasons, and if the Pats are going to turn things around on offense, the improvement will have to come in-house. Rob Gronkowski is now ineligible to return this year, and as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes, the Patriots will not bring back Antonio Brown.

Schefter’s report hardly comes as a surprise, as New England beat writers had the same news in over the past several weeks, and Brown’s recent social media post questioning Patriots owner Robert Kraft‘s desire to win didn’t exactly endear himself to Kraft (who hadn’t shown an inclination to re-sign Brown anyway).

Still, recent reports indicating that Patriots players and coaches would welcome Brown back invited public speculation that a reunion could be in the works, even though the NFL’s investigation into the sexual assault/rape allegations against Brown is still ongoing. Brown could be suspended when the investigation finally does conclude, and given how close we are to the end of the season, it wouldn’t make much sense for any team to sign Brown at this point.

Schefter does says Brown will find work once the league has issued its decision, and he notes that Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has maintained regular contact with a handful of teams. But that work won’t come with the Patriots, who, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, are heading for a major organizational change in 2020. Many expect 2019 to be Brady’s last year in New England, and La Canfora suggests that head coach Bill Belichick and/or high-profile members of his staff could also be on the move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: OBJ, Patriots, Miller, Raiders

Closing out the worst season of his six-year career, from a per-game production standpoint, Odell Beckham Jr. did not say whether he wants to be part of the 2020 Browns. He’s under contract through 2023.

I couldn’t sit here and tell you whether I’m going to be here, want to be here, don’t want to be here,” Beckham said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, adding that Jarvis Landry‘s presence has energized him about being with the Browns. “This is exactly where I’m at now and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. God has a plan. In the offseason, everything will figure itself out. I feel like I’ve been here before, answering questions about the next team when I’m on a team already. That’s just something I’m going to tune out for right now. Catch me in the offseason and we’ll see what happens.”

Despite Beckham’s disappointing year, the Browns will surely attempt to see if their recent trade acquisition can build chemistry with Baker Mayfield and bounce back in 2020. Beckham’s contract having no more guaranteed money on it, thanks to the Giants taking that on, would make the three-time Pro Bowler an interesting trade piece — if this situation did progress to that point. Beckham is due $14MM in 2020.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Tom Brady sought a longer commitment from the Patriots this year, but given one-year pay bump the sides agreed on, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran expects the iconic quarterback to depart in 2020. Brady’s age figures to be a sticking point for Bill Belichick signing off on a multiyear deal, per Curran, just as it seemed to be in recent years. A scenario where Brady tries to play until age 45 elsewhere would obviously create a major need for the Pats, who traded Brady’s would-be heir apparent to the 49ers two years ago, and would thrust them to the center of what will be a complicated QB marketplace.
  • As for Antonio Brown coming back to the Patriots to aid the defending Super Bowl champions’ receiving situation, that seems next to impossible. The free agent wide receiver shared a social media post (Twitter link) questioning Robert Kraft‘s desire to win (and one that referenced his alleged acts in the Florida spa sting). Brown, who has filed grievances against the Patriots, figures to be one of the most controversial free agents in NFL history in 2020.
  • Von Miller is battling an MCL sprain, one that forced him to miss his first game since he suffered an ACL tear in December 2013. The Broncos‘ star pass rusher is iffy for Sunday’s game against the Texans. The ninth-year linebacker indicated (via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic, subscription required) he should not play until he can utilize his array of pass-rushing moves, pointing to him missing at least one more week.
  • The Raiders worked out tight ends Matt Flanagan, Pharoah McKever and Bryce Williams this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Oakland also auditioned tight end Cole Wick, who booked the emergency tight end gig.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Jenkins, Lotulelei

Patriots QB Tom Brady will play against the Cowboys this afternoon, but as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) notes, the team will need to closely monitor Brady’s elbow moving forward. Brady was unable to finish practice on Friday due to elbow pain, and while he was able to take all necessary reps on Saturday, he will continue to get work on the elbow as the season goes on.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • It’s not unusual for teams to distance themselves from certain prospects in the pre-draft process in order to hide their interest in those prospects, and that’s exactly what the Patriots did with punter Jake Bailey, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. New England neither interviewed nor held a workout with Bailey, but it traded up in the fifth round of this year’s draft to select him. That move paid off, as the rookie specialist has two AFC Special Teams Player of the Week nods and is currently a favorite for the Pro Bowl.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the Jets to make a concerted effort to re-sign linebacker Jordan Jenkins this offseason. Jenkins, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time, has steadily improved during his first four years in the league, and despite missing two games this season with a calf injury, he has posted five sacks, just two shy of his career-high of seven (which he set last year). Jenkins will likely command a contract paying him over $10MM per year.
  • The Jets will have a lot of positions to address this offseason, but tight end isn’t one of them. As Cimini tweets, the club appears set at TE with Ryan Griffin — who agreed to a three-year extension on Saturday — Chris Herndon, and improving rookie Trevon Wesco.
  • Bills fans have been less than impressed with the performances of front-seven defenders Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that Lotulelei will definitely be back with the team next year (the Bills could save $10.1MM against the 2020 cap by cutting Lotulelei after the season, but they would also take on a $7.8MM dead cap charge). Murphy’s status is a bit tougher to predict, but if the Bills move on from Shaq Lawson, Murphy is likely to be back for the final year of his contract.

Injury Updates: Rams, Clowney, Brady

Rams wideout Brandin Cooks is set to return from the fifth known concussion of his six-year career. While the veteran has continually been sidelined by the dangerous head injury, he told reporters that his latest concussion didn’t make him consider retirement.

“Absolutely not,” Cooks told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “When it happened, that never went through my mind. Even now, it’s not going through my mind.”

Cooks suffered a pair of concussions in a 25-day span, and he traveled to Pittsburgh twice to meet with the director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Following those meetings, Cooks felt comfortable returning to the field.

“One of the biggest things that I learned, concussions is a case-by-case thing,” said Cooks. “Mine was very unique, and just thankful once again to be able to go and get answers.”

Cooks won’t be the only Rams receiver returning to the lineup. Thiry writes that Robert Woods returned to practice this week after missing last week’s contest due to “personal issues.” The 6-4 Rams will take on the Ravens on Monday night.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a game-time decision after missing three practices this week due to a hip injury, tweets ESPN’s Brady Henderson. Coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Clowney didn’t travel with the team to Philadelphia as he gets his hip checked out. Clowney suffered the injury during Monday’s win over the 49ers. In his first season with Seattle, the 26-year-old has compiled 25 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles.
  • The Eagles will be dealing with injuries of their own, as Lane Johnson is set to miss the matchup against Seattle. The veteran right tackle suffered a head injury during last weekend’s loss to the Patriots, and he remains in the concussion protocol. Rookie first-rounder Andre Dillard will slide into the starting lineup.
  • No surprise here, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play vs. the Cowboys tomorrow. The 42-year-old was listed as questionable on the injury report thanks to an elbow injury. Brady hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2008 campaign.
  • Some good news on the Giants injury front: the team announced that wideout Sterling Shepard, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and offensive lineman Nate Solder have all cleared concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Bears. Jenkins and Solder both left the Giants’ Week 10 loss to the Jets, while Shepard hasn’t seen the field since Week 5.

Extra Points: Brady, Rudolph, Garrett, Kaep

There’s been a lot of talk about Tom Brady‘s future this season, and whether he plans on continuing to play with the Patriots beyond 2019. Set to be a free agent after this season, there have been rumors Brady could wind up with a different team. A recent Adam Schefter report indicated retirement was also an option, although that would be at odds with Brady’s stated desire to play until he’s 45. According to his longtime friend and personal trainer Alex Guerrero, he could go well beyond that. Guerrero made a recent radio appearance on WEEI, and made it sound like Brady doesn’t plan on stepping away anytime soon.

“No one thought you could play at the elite level in your late 30s, early 40s. That is something we always felt we could do. I have really wanted to be there to help him accomplish that goal. I certainly do believe that 45 is a very realistic goal,” Guerrero said. “We talk about it all the time. Every year he just adds another year. He goes in and he’s like, ‘Guys, I feel so good still. I think I am going to go till 45.’ I am like, ‘OK.’ Now he’s like, ‘Alex, I think I can go like 46 or 47.’” If Brady does really want to go all the way to 47, that means we could have another five years of the legendary Patriots signal-caller. Guerrero is one of Brady’s closest confidants, and he’s certainly in the know. During the interview, he also emphatically denied reports of tension between himself and the organization.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The fallout from the Browns/Steelers brawl isn’t going to get any crazier than it already is. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will not take legal action against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that “Rudolph considers the situation to be exclusively an NFL matter.” The fact that it was even a consideration underscores just how wild last night’s events were. Rudolph’s agent had even intimated on Twitter that they were seriously considering pursuing a lawsuit or prosecution. In case you somehow missed it, Garrett has been suspended indefinitely, while Maurkice Pouncey got a three-game ban and Rudolph was fined.
  • There’s been a lot of mystery surrounding Saturday’s Colin Kaepernick workout, and the last we heard at least 24 teams were slated to attend. Commissioner Roger Goodell apparently made the decision to have the workout without consulting his usual advisers, and made the call in an impromptu fashion. He obviously wants it to go off without a hitch, and is determined not to have it be a PR nightmare. To that end, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that there is “zero doubt the league office is twisting arms” to get teams to show up (Twitter link). The whole thing has been a bit bizarre, and the league has been accused by Kaepernick’s allies of setting it up for failure.
  • The league has switched course and said they won’t provide Kaepernick’s reps with a list of those attending, and Florio’s report would seem to indicate there won’t be many top decision-makers at the workout. It’s been unclear whether there would only be low-level scouts on-hand, but the Broncos at least seem to be taking it seriously. Denver is sending top pro scout Jordan Dizon to the workout, according to Mike Klis of Denver 9News.