Does Robert Kraft regret letting Tom Brady leave?

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
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The Patriots continue their search to “solidify” the quarterback position a year after Tom Brady walked out the door. New England went 7-9 last season, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, while Brady won his seventh Super Bowl ring, this one with the Buccaneers.

Brady, whom the Patriots drafted in the sixth round in 2000, continues to cast a large shadow on the franchise he spent two decades leading to six championships.

“Look, I love Tom Brady and he’s great, but he’s moved on,” Kraft said Wednesday. “What happened here last year was not something to our liking. We had to make the corrections.”

Kraft was asked if he had any feelings of regret that Brady and the Patriots didn’t stay together even longer.

“I would have loved for him to retire as a Patriot,” Kraft said. “Everybody knew that but in life things just happen in a way that you have to balance a lot of things. After 20 years, I thought he was entitled to make a decision that was what he thought was best for him and where he was at. We gave him the ability to do that.

“It’s like marriages sometimes. No one knows on the outside everything going on and you try to balance a lot, and it is what it is.”

The Patriots gave Brady the option to leave as a free agent. He did, and he won big. That surely hurt Kraft and the Patriots organization — as well as its fans — even more than seeing him in another uniform.

“Well, after 20 years with any player, I’ll make this commitment to any player in the future,” Kraft said. “Anyone who spends 20 years with us and helps us win six Super Bowls. . . . Look, we could have, contract-wise, kept him in our camp, but it’s just not the right thing. Naturally, we want to win, but who knows what would have happened if he stayed here. Look what happened at the end of his last season here.”

Brady returns to New England this season . . . when his Buccaneers play a road game against the Patriots. The Patriots will get a reminder both of what they had and what they might have had.

54 responses to “Does Robert Kraft regret letting Tom Brady leave?

  1. Does Robert Kraft have any regrets about the massage therapy scandal? Watson’s, to clarify.

  2. I say this as the most ardent of Pats fans with %100 confidence that Tommy would not have gotten another ring this year were he still a member of the Patriots, so the entire argument is moot imo

  3. Tom wanted to leave so just leave it at that. He wanted to do what Manning did which was win a Superbowl with 2 different teams, and who knows maybe he’ll head to San Fran and make it 3 teams

  4. People somehow think Brady would have won a championship with the Patriots last year. Delusional. News flash: the Bucs were loaded and just needed someone to not turn the ball over and manage the game.

  5. His patriots were bad and led by a shot QB named cam if Kraft doesn’t regret letting the ultimate warrior and greatest of all time go , well I thank god I m a eagles fan.

  6. As an outsider looking in, I think it’s exciting to see how the Pats and Brady will do separately in the coming season.

  7. “Look what happened at the end of his last season here.”

    Bob makes a great point here. Two years ago, when the roster was at full strength, even the G.O.A.T. couldn’t lead them to a playoff win. Last season was rough for NE with all the opt outs and not really having a handle on the QB situation. But now, all those opt outs will be two years older than when they last began a season, and the Pats still don’t have a handle on the QB situation.

    Bill better strike gold in the draft because overpaying a pair of TEs is not going to put NE in the playoffs. The AFC East is no longer a cakewalk, and free agents are no longer taking discounts to sign with NE. Bill is a great coach, but he has drafted more than his share of busts. That needs to end if NE is going to become relevant again.

  8. Of course he regrets it. His genius coach insisted that Brady was washed up, and that they should move on, then brought in a new QB who actually IS washed up, while Brady moved on to Tampa and proved he himself wasn’t washed up in the most epic way possible.

    It’s sort of Shakespearean.

  9. Kraft was the one who wanted Brady to stay and he won 1 more Super Bowl for New England as a result. Belichick wanted to keep Jimmy G. and let Brady go, but because of Kraft wanting Brady to stay, New England Traded Jimmy G. to Frisco. I think Brady was angry about the inexplicable benching of Malcolm Butler in SB 53 that deprived him of another ring, and also the terrible receiving corp in New England in 2019 that resulted in an early exit from the playoffs.

  10. Scouting staff and Bill better get it right no lacrosse players or aussie rules football players. They also don’t have a Qb in Newton Stidham should get a shot. A QB who can throw a forward pass should be priority one.

  11. As a life long diehard Patriots fan,it still hurts to know that Brady is a Buccaneer. We were spoiled for 20 years.

  12. Robert Kraft won six super bowls. One or two more aren’t really going to be life-changing. But the silver lining is he and his son learned a lot about football. Watching the Patriots miss the playoffs, and watching Tampa Bay, who hadn’t won a playoff game in 18 years, win the super bowl was a great education going forward. Mr. Kraft might not be making decisions for too much longer, but his son will. This season was eye opening to a lot of people, including the Kraft family. Now they’ll feel more empowered to be involved in decisions, as their wizard coach actually turned out to be just a regular man. Every decision he made was the right decision, and everything he touched turned to gold. That totally got exposed. I’m sure the Krafts were happy to receive that education.

  13. brady wanted a new challenge and he more than earned the right to pursue it. kraft is a realist. brady and belichick put together the greatest sports dynasty in history. I wish he would have stayed too but time to move on. loved that he pulled off the 7th and look forward to bill getting his 9th and/or brady his 8th.

  14. The Patriots didn’t have the roster to win a SB in 2020. They made sorta-desperate, win-now moves with the Brown and Sanu deals in 2019 and we saw how that worked out. Brady moved on for that reason, and as a Patriots fan I haven’t stopped rooting for him. I had two teams to follow last season, and was happy with the conclusion!

  15. Something tells me TB got tired of being underappreciated. All this talk about how BB was such a genius and was responsible for all their success probably grated on TB. I can’t say that I blame him. He probably grew tired of Bill too….and Josh McDaniel. He looks like he’s having fun now and the Patriots are only going to continue to get worse.

  16. Why? Aging QB who needs a ton of help around him. All good things come to an end. Kraft should be proud of the history he made with Brady and coach with no regrets.

  17. It’s just not right to say it hurts Patriots fans to see Brady win big in another uniform. Every fan I know feels like he gave us an unprecedented two decades of success and reached the point where he deserved to make a free decision about his future.

    Even Robert Kraft acknowledged the relative lack of weapons in NE recently, so nobody thinks Brady would have won with the Patriots in 2020. I’m happy that Brady’s having such great success with the Bucs and wish him all the best going forward–except when playing the Patriots. The minuscule percentage of Patriots fans who are now dissing Brady say more about themselves than about him.

  18. Brady escaped. Gronk, escaped. Two future Hall of Famers divorcing Big Bill and the Patriot Way. What up with that?

  19. Tom’s desire to continue playing well past the expected age put the Pats into “win now” mode every year for Brady’s last 5 seasons in New England.

    Eventually, the salary cap ramifications caught up with them.

    Same thing happened to the Saints this year, where they just couldn’t pay Brees enough to play another year there due to the cap.

  20. No, Kraft doesn’t regret letting Brady leave. He regrets that the Patriots were 7-9 last season while Brady won a Super Bowl.

  21. It was time. In most cases, if a player even makes it to 20 years they just retire, but Brady is a different type of animal with regard to drive. I believe that the whole “fun” thing everybody jokes about has something to do with it too. He wanted to see what it was like on the other side, and he embraces challenges. It’s worked out pretty well for him so far and he’ll have Tampa Bay competing again for a title this year.

  22. The Patriots had to move on from Brady at some point. Last year’s roster was not playoff caliber and as Kraft pointed out it did not go well with largely that same group down the stretch in the ’19 season WITH Tom. Had Brady stuck around and continued to struggle (even if it were more due to lack of talent than Brady himself), the media would be asking if it was time for him to hang up the cleats.

    In a perfect world, yes, Tom would still be a Patriot and they would have found a way to still reload the roster. But we don’t live in a perfect world. The Patriots decided it was time to move on and begin to rebuild for long term success, and Brady decided to move on for some more short term success. End of story.

  23. The year before Brady had no talent around him and he got all the blame for thier loss to the Titans. Brady would of been bounced out in the 1st round if he stayed in NE. Bill needs to draft better.

  24. The Patriots gave Brady the option to leave as a free agent. He did, and he won big. That surely hurt Kraft and the Patriots organization — as well as its fans — even more than seeing him in another uniform.

    Honestly, didn’t hurt at all. Guy gave us 6 rings. Owed us absolutely nothing, and I was happy to see him go somewhere where he could content for (and ultimately win) his 7th.

  25. It was time brady wanted the end of his career to be about him and his brand belichick couldnt keep him grounded anymore so all parties moved on . He went to a loaded team and was given all the credit for winning which is what he wanted kudos to him. The Pat’s did what was best for them and got younger and fixed the books for the future.

  26. Going to be very interesting to see what BB comes up with to go against Brady and TB this season.
    I personally think the Bucs will be average to 11 wins but not make even close to the SB.
    Time will tell

  27. They didn’t “let” Brady leave. He chose to. And anybody thinking that if Brady had stayed the Pats would be champs right now is kidding themselves. Their skill positions were terrible this past season. Tampa had guys barely playing who’d have been the best players on the Pats offense.

  28. He should, but the Pats weren’t a legit contender with him. All the same, letting your franchise QB leave and go win a Super Bowl elsewhere doesn’t exactly make you look very smart.

  29. BB is head of football operations, BB has no prob taking credit for successes. The team has not drafted well, not developed talent well ( like a lot of the league). BB is losing his new car smell.. I’m sure Kraft is saying we should’ve spent the money they’re spending now with Tom here. And this splurge year feels desperate by BB to win now, to heck with the future. Interesting times for BB, and the Pats.

  30. Was that a rhetorical question? The answer is obvious.

    This is Montana being traded. Jordan playing for the Knicks or Lakers. Jim Brown retiring with gas in the tank.

    To bad he didn’t stay. Would have enjoyed watching him fade into bolivian.

  31. Last year, Brady left the Patriots for a team he thought could win a SB. Belechik, on the other hand, went into rebuilding mode. He now has a young deep team that is a SB contender for the next few years. If you don’t believe it, just look at all the SBs won by QBs like Flacco. All of those teams were deep and balanced.

  32. If Kraft “loves Brady like a son”, why couldn’t he give him what he wanted after 20 years of loyalty, taking less, and winning 6 Super Bowls? He put money first and let him walk. Brady deserved that respect and nether Kraft nor Belichick gave it to him. I don’t have much sympathy for them in that regard, but I will always root for the team itself.

  33. Kraft made the right decision. Not the one he wanted to make, but nevertheless the right one.

  34. The Pats never even rendered Brady an offer so the whole position Kraft is taking is just ridiculous

  35. He didn’t “let” Tom Brady leave – Tom Brady left. Tom Brady is an adult, was a free agent, and is responsible for his own decisions. He wasn’t playing under the reserve clause, he wasn’t an indentured servant, etc. Tom Brady made the decision to leave, period.

  36. Brady wanted to be extended through his age 45 season after they won their 6th Super Bowl in 2018, asking the press in training camp before the 2019 season “don’t you think I deserve an extension?”. Belichick wouldn’t give him the extension, and wanted to go year to year. Brady countered with a deal that gave them some immediate cap flexibility for 2019, but also would give him control of his future by eliminating the threat of the franchise tag. Belichick didn’t want to build around Brady anymore because he thought Brady was done. He had been drafting move away from the high efficiency Brady offense to go to a ball-control run-oriented offense, top defense team for the last two seasons of Brady’s time there. When it became clear that Belichick didn’t believe in him, Brady decided he wanted to finish his career somewhere else and prove him wrong. The irony of it all was Bill was one of the few who believed in Brady at the start.

    Brady going to Tampa, a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2002, and winning a super bowl in year one proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brady was not, in fact, done. You could build around him at age 43 and win a Super Bowl. Kraft has never had more public opinions than he appears to have now and my bet is Belichick gets two more years to get back in contention before he loses his GM role and has to decide whether he wants to stay as the head coach without that GM power.

  37. “Look, we could have, contract-wise, kept him in our camp, but it’s just not the right thing. ” How about, just didn’t want to give you another Lombadi trophy, but that is just not the right thing….”…. we just want to lose…

  38. If Kraft “loves Brady like a son”, why couldn’t he give him what he wanted after 20 years of loyalty, taking less, and winning 6 Super Bowls?


    I believe Kraft and Belichick agreed on “gentleman” deal that he wouldn’t interfere with Belichick’s decision later if Belichick was to keep Brady 4 years ago an let Jimmy Garappolo go.

  39. Rex Ryan took Jets to AFCCG twice.
    Belichick is on a mission now to prove he is better than Rex Ryan.

  40. Of course he regrets it. But he still did it anyway, and he did it for the right reason. That speaks well for him.

  41. bwdjr says:
    April 1, 2021 at 11:25 am
    Patriots, welcome to the NFL. Fun isn’t it ?


    Actually, having been a Pats fan for almost 30 years, and especially in the past 20, I can say not making the playoffs is a lot less stressful than having your team get at least to the AFCCG every year. I’m fine with a couple years off. Give the other teams a chance.

  42. William Lee says:
    April 1, 2021 at 1:48 pm
    If Kraft “loves Brady like a son”, why couldn’t he give him what he wanted after 20 years of loyalty, taking less, and winning 6 Super Bowls?


    I believe Kraft and Belichick agreed on “gentleman” deal that he wouldn’t interfere with Belichick’s decision later if Belichick was to keep Brady 4 years ago an let Jimmy Garappolo go.


    Well, whatever happened, they looked pretty bad in the end, especially with Brady winning a Super Bowl in his first year with Tampa Bay. When a once in a lifetime guy like Brady tells you that he has enough in the tank to play until age 45 or beyond, believe him.

  43. I don’t know how anyone who read the Patriots Dynasty book can think Kraft does not regret this.

  44. the cupboard was bare, i’m proud of tom. he’ll sign a 1 day contract and retire a patriot. nobody should accelerate that.

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