Joe Montana believes the Patriots dropped the ball in the Tom Brady sweepstakes.

Brady’s tenure in New England has come to an end, as the six-time Super Bowl champion signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week in free agency. Patriots owner Robert Kraft claims Brady wasn’t interested in returning to Foxboro, but Montana seems to believe the franchise simply didn’t do what it took to retain the 42-year-old.

“I don’t know what’s going on inside there, but somebody made a mistake,” Montana told USA Today Sports.

Montana is no stranger to a new beginning late in a career. The Hall of Famer closed his NFL tenure with two seasons in Kansas City after 14 in San Francisco, where he won four Super Bowl championships. But as Montana noted, his situation was different than Brady’s, as the 49ers had a clear successor waiting in the wings in Steve Young. The Patriots, meanwhile, currently feature an uncertain quarterback situation.

“I think when you look at the whole situation, you try to figure out how you want to get away from things that are there,” Montana said. “I had a different story, where they had made a decision. He, obviously, they never would have gotten rid of. I still don’t understand how New England let him get away. I don’t understand that.”

We imagine there are plenty of Patriots fans who feel the same way as Brady’s childhood idol.

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Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images