Robert Kraft has been adamant he wants Tom Brady to remain in New England. Why, then, was the Patriots owner so willing to give Brady the ability to test free agency?

Well, Ian Rapoport on Monday provided an answer… sort of.

“There is a pretty good reason that owner Robert Kraft and Tom Brady have worked closely on several deals in the past,” the NFL Media reporter said. “There’s a reason why the option was to allow Brady to test free agency — to not get franchised, to not get (transition tagged) — just to have a clear path toward free agency.

“From what I understand, Kraft’s thinking on this was, basically, if the sides came together — if Brady decided that the Patriots were his best option after testing free agency, and if Bill Belichick … decides that Brady is his best option at this price — then, in the end, after all of this, after going through everything, that it’ll be mean that it’s basically meant to be and it’s the best thing for all sides. Kraft wanted them to get apart, to see what’s out there, and try to come together in the middle. And the hope is, if that works out for 2020, that everyone will be happy they went through the process.”

Translation: Kraft believes if it’s meant to be, it’ll be — or something. There also seems to be an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” element to what Rapoport was saying. That said, it’s pretty hard to understand what Rapoport was getting at, so his “report” remains very much open to interpretation.

Reminder: Brady is scheduled to become a free agent March 18.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images