If Tom Brady does or does not return to the New England Patriots, it will all be up to Bill Belichick.
Just the thought of Brady in another NFL uniform is a haunting one for Patriots fans, but at the same time it would be quite interesting to see what the team’s next move would be at the quarterback position if that scenario ever came to fruition.
One thing we know entering the next few weeks is that Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants his franchise quarterback back, Tom Brady himself would prefer to be back and it appears Belichick wants him back…at the right price.
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According to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran, Belichick knows Brady is his best option going into 2020. Here is what he had to say during an appearance on Dale & Keefe Wednesday, as transcribed by WEEI:
"“At a price, yeah. I think from all I have gathered; Bill would prefer to have Tom Brady playing quarterback in 2020 because it is a known quantity and it removes the doubt. They aren’t ready to have him leave. But, if he’s going to leave and it is going to hamstring other portions, if it comes to a crossroads, I think Bill can easily get his mind around saying goodbye as well as he has with so many other players over the course of time.”"
As is typically the case with star players past their prime, the ultimate decision to move on from that player has been Belichick’s forte throughout his tenure with the Patriots.
But Tom Brady is a different animal. Even at the age of 43, he is still considered at least a top 10 quarterback in the league, especially if he is surrounded with the talent.
That’s why reaching a deal with Brady before March 18 is a crucial one of the team if he is in their plans. The New England Patriots would then have additional money to play with to get Tom Brady those players he needs.
If they don’t sign. Him before March 18, they will take a $13.5 million cap hit in 2020. That would limit a lot of what Bill Belichick would be able to do in free agency.
So, folks, this will basically come down to Bill Belichick vs. Tom Brady on the negotiating table. For the first time in his career, Belichick may be at the mercy of one of his players when it comes to contract negotiations.
Will the coach be able to walk away from his franchise quarterback if the money doesn’t work?
Well, all indications point to him shying away from that possibility…at least in 2020.