Right now, the biggest question is whether Tom Brady will return to the Patriots.
Soon, the conversation could shift toward how New England will replace its longtime starting quarterback.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman explored Brady’s looming free agency in a piece published Friday, and his prevailing thought is the Patriots will struggle to overcome the veteran signal-caller’s departure should the sides part ways this offseason. This isn’t a knock on Bill Belichick or Robert Kraft, Freeman explained, but rather a testament to Brady’s greatness, which is greatly admired across the NFL.
Here’s what Freeman wrote, even citing an NFC assistant coach who attempted to put a potential Brady-Patriots split into perspective:
Team executives and coaches around the league, including some who might be interested in Brady, feel the same way. Belichick is respected; Brady is revered.
“Tom can turn a non-playoff team into one,” one NFC assistant coach said, “and a playoff team into a Super Bowl team.”
Conversely, the assistant added: “The Patriots will take several steps back if he leaves.”
Every now and then, it’s good to pause and appreciate what you have and what you could lose. The Patriots are hopefully doing that right now.
This isn’t exactly a new conversation. For years, folks have debated who deserves more credit for the Patriots’ dynasty: Brady or Belichick. And it’s entirely possible the answer lies somewhere in the middle, with both the quarterback and the coach equally responsible for New England’s success.
We’re reaching a point where they might not be joined at the hip for much longer, though, and it’ll be fascinating to see how life changes for Brady, Belichick, the Patriots and whichever team signs Brady should the 42-year-old QB leave New England in free agency after 20 seasons with the organization.