Maybe Tom Brady’s free agency will have an anticlimactic ending after all.
Much has been made about Brady’s impending trip to the open market. It will mark the 42-year-old’s first go-around as a free agent in his lengthy NFL career, and even if the Patriots are interested in maintaining the marriage, it’s tough to imagine they will be the only team vying for Brady’s services. New England is expected to have a tight budget this spring, and Brady reportedly is not open to a hometown discount.
Still, if you ask ESPN’s Mike Reiss, there’s an 80 percent chance Brady is back in a Patriots uniform for the 2020 season. Despite a handful of factors that suggest Brady is bound for a new team, Reiss seems to believe Brady’s importance to the organization will influence New England’s brass.
“Because the Patriots aren’t flush with cap space like other teams, it adds a layer of context to what level coach Bill Belichick might value Brady’s return,” Reiss wrote. “Contrast that to a team like the Dolphins, who have almost $100 million in cap space, and it underscores how the Patriots aren’t in the most advantageous position. Owner Robert Kraft has spoken in the past about how the Patriots value a strong middle class and generally try to avoid one player’s cap charge taking up a high percentage of the overall cap. But Brady, whom Belichick called an ‘iconic figure in the organization,’ presents the type of situation that could test that discipline. It’s one of many layers to an intriguing situation.”
Brady playing a 21st season (and maybe more) in Foxboro certainly would please Robert Kraft. The Patriots owner’s “hope and prayer” is for the six-time Super Bowl champion to march on with the only NFL franchise he’s ever known.
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