Robert Kraft on Tom Brady’s future: “You know what I want”

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft has left no doubt regarding his preference when it comes to the future of quarterback Tom Brady. At an Oscar party on Sunday night, Kraft made his wishes even more clear.

You know what I want,” Kraft said when asked about Brady.

But as a wise man once said, you can’t always get what you want. And the procedure to which the team and the player have agreed may result in the Patriots needing a new quarterback.

Consider this explanation of the situation from Ian Rapoport of the NFL: “There’s a reason why the option was to allow Brady to test free agency, to not get franchised, to not get transitioned, just to have a clear path toward free agency. And from what I understand, Kraft’s thinking on this was basically if the sides came together, if Brady decided that the Patriots were his best option after testing free agency, and if Bill Belichick who of course is making the decisions for New England, if he decides that Brady is his best option at this price, then in the end after all of this, after going through everything, that it will mean that it’s basically meant to be and that’s it’s the best thing for all sides. Kraft wanted them to get apart, to see what’s out there, and try to come together in the middle, and the hope is if that works out for 2020 that everyone will be happy they went through the process.”

So what does it mean within that context to “test free agency”? If Brady and the Patriots wait for free agency to open to “test” the waters, other viable options for the Patriots could be gone before Brady and the Patriots decide to part ways, if that’s what they eventually choose to do. At a minimum, Brady would accumulate significant leverage if/when various fallback options for the Patriots end up signing elsewhere.

Thus, for both sides to know whether they’ll be continuing their relationship for a 21st year, the Patriots will have to welcome other teams tampering with Brady, encouraging his agent to talk to other teams well before the free-agency period begins. Actually, the tampering must be completed before the legal tampering window opens on March 16, because that’s when teams with money to spend and positions to fill begin insisting on commitments from the players at the top of key position lists, intent to move on to No. 2 and so on, if top option isn’t interested.

This practical reality gives credence to an ESPN report from last month that the Patriots want to know what Brady is doing before the March 16 negotiating window opens. Thus, the testing of free agency necessarily will happen before free agency — and in this specific case the rampant tampering that happens in February (reaching a fever pitch at the Scouting Combine) will expedite the process of determining whether Brady will stay or go.

In other words, Brady is becoming a free agent without technically becoming a free agent. Because he’ll be staying in New England only after knowing what is behind Door No. 2 or Door No. 3 or any other door that may be out there before deciding whether the Patriots have said and done enough to get him to stay, Brady will be a free agent before choosing whether to stay put. If his agent already is testing the waters on interest in Brady, Brady is already a de facto free agent now.

After Brady knows what’s out there, the question becomes whether Belichick will do what he has to do to get Brady to stay. And that continues to be the most overlooked aspect of this situation: To get Brady to stay, Belichick will have to say and do enough to get Brady to believe that Belichick will truly appreciate Brady in the final years of their time together.

Brady’s habit of taking less has arisen, as some believe, not from a desire to ensure that cap space is available for other players but from fear that Belichick would cut Brady if/when Belichick thinks Brady is making more than his performance level justifies. Brady has basically exhausted his lifetime supply of dealing with that anxiety, and he’ll choose to continue to associate with the man Bill Parcells called “Doom” only if there will be much less gloom in Brady’s day-to-day relationship with his coach.

24 responses to “Robert Kraft on Tom Brady’s future: “You know what I want”

  1. When Kraft says,”you know what I want,” I’d think it’s in everyone’s best interest to qualify it as a football related question first. Just in case.

  2. The Patriots have recently let other important players test free agency as opposed to trying to use things like franchise tags or early offers. Hightower is an example. If a player then chooses to comeback to the Patriots, like Hightower did, there is no remaining animosity toward the team. It’s risky, but I think Belichick’s mindset is to only coach players that want to be there.

  3. Brady will come back to the Patriots and reload. With their current defense, they have another 2 year window they can compete for a championship. The only other team I could see sneak in, would be the Colts. Indoor VS outdoor, preserve his body more. I don’t know if i could bare to see Brady in another uniform. Is that selfish? 🙂

  4. @ brady1515 says:

    “Brady will come back to the Patriots and reload. With their current defense, they have another 2 year window they can compete for a championship”.

    Nah. Their window slammed shut, and they wouldn’t beat Baltimore or KC to get to the AFCCG. Besides, Brady has looked pedestrian this recent season.

    The Pats D was stellar this year, but it wasn’t enough, and don’t forget that Scarneccia retired. The Pats O-line isn’t likely to improve with him gone. Yeah, that window has slammed shut.

    l think Brady retires before he changes teams. He has nothing left to prove, and it is better to hang them up a little early versus a little late. Money certainly isn’t a necessity for him, even with him being paid significantly less than many other QB’s.

    We all knew the Pats run would end, but most thought it would have ended earlier.
    Your Pats got all of you Pats fans 6 rings, but that run is over. KC is now taking the reins on the next dynasty run.

  5. Package a bunch of picks together to trade up in Round 1 to give themselves options. If he stays, they can use the pick elsewhere or trade it away; if he goes they can pick a QB or use the pick to trade for a veteran. It isn’t a requirement to win the AFC East EVERY year – if he goes, the fan base will accept a brief retooling period.

  6. I don’t think it’s obvious at all what Kraft wants. He says “you know what I want”. He didn’t say ” I will do everything to ensure he stays”.

  7. If Andrews returns and the O-line is completely heathly (looking at you Wynn), allowing everyone else to slot back to natural postions – it will most certainly be better next year.

    If you saw the KC game you realize that was majorly influenced by officiating in crucial situations, to the point that no one knows what the actual outcome should have been.

    The Baltimore game was very, very close until a late fumble turned it in Baltimore’s favor.

    The window is most certainly still open.
    _________________________________
    jsrdc says:
    February 10, 2020 at 7:56 pm
    @ brady1515 says:

    “Brady will come back to the Patriots and reload. With their current defense, they have another 2 year window they can compete for a championship”.

    Nah. Their window slammed shut, and they wouldn’t beat Baltimore or KC to get to the AFCCG. Besides, Brady has looked pedestrian this recent season.

    The Pats D was stellar this year, but it wasn’t enough, and don’t forget that Scarneccia retired. The Pats O-line isn’t likely to improve with him gone. Yeah, that window has slammed shut.

  8. Brady took less money because he was afraid Belichick would cut him? My reaction to that statement is about the same as when the reporter asked Belichick if he needed to reevaluate the QB situation.

  9. I love how Pats fans think they just retool and become another dynasty. Go back and see how that worked for the Cowboys and Ninere. It isn’t that easy. They have no cap space to make a big splash, and they are aging in some key roles.

    Brady last year became Eli Manning. He threw the ball away I believe more than 30% of his attempts. Many of which should’ve been called grounding. He can’t move. I applaud the guy for staying in shape and being amazing for years, but a good defense doesn’t score enough points to win games.

    I hope he hangs it up or at least goes somewhere he can win. That will require an amazing tight end, an excellent WR, and some type of running game. Those teams already have great young QB’s at their disposal.

  10. Of course Pats fans think they can retool. They have great ownership, that won even before Brady and Belichick. 3 HCs, Parcells, PCarroll and Belichick. Belichick turns this roster over every other year. No reason they won’t do it again. I think the down year was 10-6. Anyone that thinks Brady continually grounds the ball simply doesn’t understand the rule. Not taking a sack is a good play. HELLO!?!

  11. Brady while being the GOAT is also a perfectionist in the intellectual part of football which includes game preparation and practice. He has been on a team for 20 years that game plans for each opponent increasing his chance to win. Belichick is greatest coach in history and McDaniels is the top OC in football right now. do you really think he wants to change this. Any other team he goes to will seem like an amateur outfit compared to New England. Many a player after arriving or leaving new England has commented that the level of preparation is on another level. After 20 years with Belichick Brady has more football knowledge than most other head coaches. NO matter what happens Brady will also lessen his legacy a little bit if he plays for another team. I always said his options are Patriots or retirement.

  12. The championship window remains open as long as Belichick is coach. And certainly if Brady returns for 2 more years. Idiots for years have predicted the end of the championship window for the Patriots. How does if feel to be ALWAYS WRONG

    On to 2020……….

  13. Birds of a feather is a do do bird. Why don’t you ask Belichick if Brady is Eli Manning. If you watched the games do do bird you would have seen Brady as the same old Brady when his receivers ran the right routes or created separation. Mahomes receivers created the most amount of separation in NFL last year on average 3.1 yards of seaparation per throw. Easy to make throws like that. Give Mahomes the Patriots weapons and he would be average. Brady is GOAT fool.

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