James Jones believes the collective silence between the Patriots and Tom Brady speaks volumes.
Brady’s whereabouts for the 2020 NFL season remain unclear as the star quarterback heads toward free agency for the first time in his storied career. The 42-year-old consistently has been mum about his future this offseason, including as recently as Wednesday when he noted he was going to remain patient as he goes through the process.
Brady has had little to say about the Patriots, specifically, over the past two months, which Jones believes is in indicator the signal-caller could be bound for a new home.
“I think Tom Brady doesn’t want to be a Patriot anymore,” Jones said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access. “You’ve been at an organization for 20 years, you’ve had the same coach for 20 years, same owner for 20 years. Usually when something like that happens, you come out — whether it’s free agency — and say, ‘I would love to stay here and be a Patriot.’ Tom has said none of that.
“When I looked at teams where quarterbacks were getting older, you had a Brett Favre with an Aaron Rodgers behind him so it’s like, ‘OK, we can let him go ’cause we got 12.’ Then you had a Joe Montana with a Steve Young behind him, ‘OK, we got Steve so Joe can go,’ and Eli Manning had Daniel Jones. Who is behind Tom Brady? You still are not fighting to try to keep Tom Brady or are coming out and saying, ‘He’s our guy, we’re gonna get a deal done.’ Then even Tom Brady being there for 20 years saying, ‘This is where I want to be. This is home. I’m a Patriot. I’ve done everything I could possibly do here. I want to continue to keep going ’cause I know I’m coming back to play more football.’ He has not said that. So for me, I feel like Tom Brady wants a fresh start somewhere else other than the Patriots.”
Free agency frenzy is two weeks away.
And all ?are on @TomBrady….
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 5, 2020
To be fair, free agency typically is a game of leverage. Neither the Patriots nor Brady would be doing themselves well by fawning over one another at this particular stage. The ambiguous speak is pretty standard procedure for marquee free agents, so we shouldn’t read too much into that.
It’s worth noting not everyone involved in the matter has kept everything close to the vest, though. Patriots owner Robert Kraft on more than one occasion has expressed his desire to keep Brady in a Patriots uniform. That said, some believe it will be exclusively up to Brady and Bill Belichick to iron this out, and their phone conversation Tuesday reportedly did not go well.
So at this point, we probably shouldn’t heavily lean one way or the other with our assumptions.