There clearly was some face-saving going on.
?If he wanted to be here, we would have put a deal together,?? Kraft told The Boston Globe. ?That?s what I thought was happening (Monday) night.??
Since Kraft made the rounds, the owner’s words actually produced the opposite of his intended reaction. He was too transparent. It was pretty easy to see what he was doing, and more and more people have taken Brady’s side, detecting he actually was forced out.
“Won’t someone please think of the quarterback?!”
The pendulum has probably swung too far in the opposite direction at this point. Can’t both parties be to blame? Or neither?
Brady pretty clearly wanted more money, more respect, more weapons and more admiration. Bill Belichick and the Patriots wanted to treat Brady like any other free agent, and after he reportedly turned down a contract extension last summer, they wanted the QB to come to them with his demands.
If the Patriots wanted Brady, they would have reached out to him and made it known he was a priority. And if Brady wanted the Patriots, he would have made it work, as Drew Brees did this offseason with the New Orleans Saints. For 20 years, Brady has been praised for taking less to help the Patriots. It’s at least worth noting when he’s decided not to take such a selfless approach.
It takes two to play the blame game, and there’s no other sport in town right now. But this union simply wasn’t meant to continue with both parties playing some indifferent form of chicken.
Maybe the Patriots and Brady both thrive after moving on.
Perhaps New England uses the cap space that would have been set aside for Brady and otherwise improve its roster and advances further in the postseason than it did in 2019. That doesn’t, so far, seem to be the case as the Patriots are running out of cap space despite only re-signing their own free agents and shopping the bargain aisle by adding wide receiver Damiere Byrd and defensive tackle Beau Allen.
Maybe Brady immediately clicks with Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and offensive weapons like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and has another career resurgence at 43 years old. But coronavirus-related travel restrictions are already getting in the way of Brady’s future. He reportedly hasn’t yet signed his contract because he and the Bucs couldn’t decide where he would undergo his physical before reportedly agreeing Brady would take it in New York. Those same travel restrictions could later impact Brady’s ability to install his own system or learn Arians’ and work with his new receivers. The offseason workout program — if Brady intended to participate in the first place — already has been delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Doesn’t it still feel like it would have been in everyone’s best interests for Brady to return and finish his career where it started? When the Patriots wouldn’t have to scramble for a QB, and Brady wouldn’t have to uproot his life?
The best way this story could end is in a Patriots-Buccaneers Super Bowl LV matchup in Brady’s home stadium. Football fans living in New England would likely be split in their rooting interests. There will be Brady fans emerging from this divorce, and Kraft’s immediate reaction to the QB’s departure likely didn’t sway any of them back to the Patriots’ side.
But no one party is solely to blame for Brady’s unfortunate exit. Kraft wasn’t lying, and the Patriots didn’t appreciate Brady enough.