As the NFL delays until Sunday the potential postponement of the start of free agency, another potential postponement could become critical to the eventual decision made by Tom Brady.
If, as some expect, the coronavirus situation causes the NFL to shorten the offseason program, Brady will have a tougher time getting up to speed with a new team. Which could make him more likely to want to stay with his current team.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick could feel the same way. If Belichick is intrigued by the prospect of acquiring a veteran quarterback, the fact that the Patriots will have less time to get him up to speed could make Belichick choose to put a pin in that potential plan for a year.
The lockout in 2011 wiped out the entire offseason program for every team and shortened training camp. (That season, the Patriots returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in four years.) It’s unclear whether and to what extent the offseason program will be reduced in 2020, but the possibility that teams will have less time to prepare for 2020 definitely could be a factor in whether Brady moves on.