New England Patriots: Tom Brady’s departure due to bad decisions

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during the the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during the the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The unthinkable has happened as Tom Brady has decided not to return to the New England Patriots.

The news was released today by Tom Brady, he will no longer be the New England Patriots quarterback for the first time in two decades. The long-running soap opera that has been the Brady decision on free agency is over.

He is gone.

Hmmm … While not unexpected, the thought of Brady leaving the Patriots was just incomprehensible, unfathomable, inexplicable … even amidst all the signals that argued otherwise. It just didn’t seem possible. Now it is.

Like the Titanic, the supposedly “unsinkable” megaship, the New England Patriots have been darn near unsinkable for 2 decades. Such a run in the free agency era is not only unlikely, it’s really impossible.

But New England fans have had the great privilege of being able to root for a team driven by the insuperable will of Tom Brady. Henceforth, Brady will take that indomitable spirit elsewhere.

Bad decisions by the New England Patriots prompted Brady’s departure

The relationship between Brady and the team has been suspect for some time. Disagreements over the TB12 brand and Brady’s trainer’s access to Gillette Stadium and his traveling with the team contributed to the disintegration of the star quarterback’s relationship with the team’s head of football operations, Bill Belichick. This issue was a smoldering smoke-emitting signal that beneath the surface a fire of discontent was burning.

The best indicator, however, of the seriousness of the breach, in my opinion, was the 2-year contract signed by Brady prior to last season which was voidable after one year. How is a 2019 two-year contract a one-year contract?

But the key provision in that contract that really signified that Brady was potentially on the move, was the clause in that deal that did not allow the Patriots to franchise Brady the next offseason. What?

Not sure how common such deals are, but clearly, the Patriots signing a deal allowing their All-Time player an opportunity to leave, with no recourse through the franchise tag, was incomprehensible and indefensible. This was a terrible decision for the New England Patriots, truly bad business, if, in fact, they had any serious intention to retain Brady in 2020. This was troubling then and it has now allowed Brady to leave.

Brady also seemed to want for once to be paid at a level he deserves. Fair enough. For years, Brady had played for sub-market salaries to allow the team to utilize the extra cap space to build a better team around him. The strategy worked.

The team enjoyed unprecedented success. They won 6 Super Bowl titles. They should have won several more with better personnel management, in my opinion.  But for 2020, Brady wanted to be paid and evidently, the Patriots were not inclined to oblige him.

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According to a report by Dale Arnold of WEEI, the Patriots low-balled Brady in their 2020 contract offer, in my opinion to an insultingly low level. This clearly indicated a lack of respect and affection for their All-Time player.

This was another bad decision by the New England Patriots. Brady is not just another player. He’s the team’s All-Time Best Player.

The “common knowledge” is that players are paid for “future performance”. That’s hogwash and without logic. A player without past performance is not going to “get paid”.

Imagine a team giving a $20M contract to someone without a past track record? It’s ludicrous. Brady’s past performances were unprecedented and he deserved to be paid.

Brady is still playing at a high level. Poor personnel management including truly disastrous decision making on offense prior to and during the abortive 2019 season directly hampered his 2019 performance.

He played behind a devastated offensive line and absent Julian Edelman and James White, he had no other high-level offensive skill players. Brady should have sued the team in 2019 for non-support.

The New England Patriots carry the blame

In light of these developments, Patriots fans should not have been very surprised to see Tom Brady take his talents elsewhere, as much as it may hurt the fan base to see him leave. And it does hurt.

All of this adds up to one fact, whoever in the leadership makes the ultimate decisions for the New England Patriots, whether it be owner Robert Kraft (who absolutely should in a seminal case like this) and/or football operations chief Bill Belichick, by their actions or inactions are directly responsible for Tom Brady’s leaving the team.

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And they will very likely suffer the consequences during the 2020 NFL season.