When the reigning NFL MVP isn’t on the field with his teammates, you’d best believe the questions will follow.

So, why has Tom Brady cut back on his workload this spring and summer? Why did the New England Patriots quarterback sit out during team drills last Friday and take limited reps Tuesday after skipping organized team activities this spring? Does it have anything to do with a reported beef with head coach Bill Belichick? Does he just want to see more of his family?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter offered a much simpler thought Thursday: This is an attempt to manage Brady’s body.

“I definitely believe there is a physical component to that,” Schefter said during a radio appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan.” “Look around the league at the way other teams rest younger players in their late 20s or early 30s. Again, the guy is 41. How many throws are in that arm?

” … The Patriots are smart in that regard. If Tom Brady has X number of throws in his arm for the year, you might as well preserve them now and not use up that arm and give it as much rest as you possibly can.”

So, Brady sitting out a few plays isn’t his way of somehow sticking it to Belichick?

“I don’t think him being rested at camp right now has anything to do with a rift between he and Belichick,” Schefter added. “It is just being smart. It’s doing the right thing. It is managing his career, managing the throws, trying to preserve him as long as they can.”

Schefter’s theory obviously makes sense. Brady played in just two of New England’s four preseason games in 2017 (and attempted just 24 passes in those two games combined) before going on to win NFL MVP. While he’ll need some time to jell with an overhauled receiving corps, he’s proved he doesn’t need many practice reps to perform at a high level in the regular season.

So, you probably can expect to see Brady even less this preseason — he’s unlikely to play Thursday night against the Washington Redskins — and still be the same dominant QB once Week 1 rolls around.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images