Shannon Sharpe has been saying for a while he believes Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will part ways this offseason.
A recent report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport stating the Patriots are willing to pay Brady in excess of $30 million to keep the quarterback in New England has done nothing to change Sharpe’s tune.
It’s long been rumored Bill Belichick wanted to move on from Brady in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo before trading the latter to the San Francisco 49ers in October 2017, but that he ultimately was overruled by Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Sharpe thinks that sequence of events played a pivotal role in souring the relationship between Brady and the only NFL franchise he’s ever known, to the point where the 42-year-old signal caller is prepared to take his talents elsewhere in free agency this offseason.
“(Jimmy Garoppolo) might have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back, because he’s like, ‘After all I’ve done, you still — all the pay cuts, all the giving you leeway to come and go, and I’ve never said anything about the talent level that you have around me, I’m just a good soldier — and still you wanna replace me,’ ” Sharpe said on Tuesday’s episode of “Undisputed” on FS1. “I think Brady’s mind is made up, because at the end of the day, if he goes back (to the Patriots), they’re still in the same place. Who gets the credit? Brady knows in order for him to get the credit that he deserves, somebody has to leave. It doesn’t look like Coach Belichick is going. (Brady) has the opportunity to leave.
“Now, the reports are saying ‘$30 million, in excess of $30 million.’ It’s kind of like being in a relationship and you had every opportunity to do the right thing and at the very last minute when she says she’s leaving, trust me I know, you’re like, ‘OK, this is what I’m gonna do to keep you.’ And she’s like, ‘Shannon, I’ve made up my mind. You’re gone.’ I believe that’s what gonna happen to the Patriots. Sometimes, when people feel they’ve been wronged for so long and you’ve had every opportunity to correct it, to right it, and you don’t… This sounds like Mr. Kraft’s doing, again pulling another power play, which I believe Coach Belichick will not be too happy about. But I don’t see it. I think the damage has been done, and I do believe Tom Brady is playing elsewhere next season.”
Brady’s free agency will continue to dominate headlines until he makes a decision. Several teams — including the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans — have been floated as potential landing spots should Brady sign elsewhere, but it’s fair to assume the Patriots will make a strong push to keep the six-time Super Bowl champion.
Will that be enough? Sharpe clearly doesn’t think so, especially since the Patriots might be unable to surround Brady with a good enough supporting cast thanks to their salary cap situation and the other players set to hit free agency for New England.