INDIANAPOLIS — The faster the NFL Players Association and team owners can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement, the sooner negotiations can begin between the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the lack of a new CBA is delaying discussions between Brady and the Patriots.

Brady’s agent, Don Yee, referenced the CBA in generalities while speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday morning when asked whether the two sides have met and if reports are true that Brady is not expecting to return to New England. While it’s a negative sign that the two sides reportedly have not yet met, the lack of a new CBA at least explains why they have not come together.

As Schefter said, the two sides can’t discuss a potential contract without knowing how it will be structured.

The Patriots can sign Brady to a much lower salary cap figure if a CBA is agreed upon before March 18. The Patriots have limited cap space to sign Brady and improve their overall roster. Brady likely will carry a high cap figure if the NFL plays under it’s current CBA.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports