New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft might need to pick a side this offseason.

While much has been made about Tom Brady’s future, Max Kellerman wondered Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take” whether head coach Bill Belichick would consider leaving New England if the veteran quarterback returned to the Patriots in free agency.

Basically, Kellerman believes the Patriots re-signing Brady to a contract the QB finds suitable would require a power play in which Brady goes above Belichick’s head and directly to Kraft. The Patriots owner has made it perfectly clear he would like to keep Brady in New England.

“I think (Brady will) go to the Chargers, but if he is (returning to New England), Bill Belichick might be available,” Kellerman said. “Because if he is, that means he went around Belichick again, went to Kraft and forced Kraft — because Brady wants to be among or the highest-paid; he doesn’t want to be underpaid — and forced Belichick to give a bigger cap percentage to a player who needs more around him, not less around him. At that point, Belichick might look at the Patriots and go, ‘What can I do?’ and may move on. Like, I would not be surprised if he would be there for the picking if Kraft forced him to give Brady a premier type contract. I believe that won’t happen and Brady will go to the Chargers.”

There’s long been speculation that Belichick wanted to move on from Brady before ultimately trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in October 2017 after Kraft intervened. Now, two-plus seasons and two Super Bowl appearances later, it’s fair to wonder whether Belichick will take a more firm stance in the organization’s quarterback decision. After all, Brady regressed in 2019 and is entering his age-43 season.

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