Tom Brady officially can become a free agent when the new league year opens March 18, with the legal tampering period beginning March 16.

But that doesn’t mean the six-time Super Bowl champion will sign right away.

There’s already been a ton of speculation surrounding Brady’s future and whether he’ll return to the New England Patriots, and it’s possible that buzz will continue even after the 42-year-old quarterback hits the open market.

“I think he likes the attention, so it is not going to be something that happens quickly,” an executive told The Athletic’s Mike Sando at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Brady, selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, has spent his entire career with the Patriots, achieving unprecedented success alongside head coach Bill Belichick. But he showed signs of regression in 2019, and much of that can be attributed to his lackluster supporting cast on offense.

Thus, it’s fair to wonder whether New England can convince Brady to stay. While it’s unclear what exactly he’ll prioritize in free agency, Brady probably would like to be compensated fairly in addition to working alongside a more talented group moving forward.

“He is putting pressure on New England to get him some players,” another executive told Sando of Brady’s free agency.

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington made waves last week when he said Brady was preparing to enter free agency with the intention of signing elsewhere, but according to Sando, executives polled at the Scouting Combine weren’t ready to predict a departure just yet.

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