Whether or not Tom Brady stays with the New England Patriots as he gets ready to test the free-agency waters remains one of the biggest questions in the NFL realm.  If the MVP quarterback can’t reach a satisfactory agreement with the team, there’s no shortage of interest from other franchises, but most New England fans have a difficult time envisioning their team without the 20-year veteran.  There is still a lot of negotiating ahead and Brady has already had an initial conversation with head coach Bill Belichick about his future, and according to sources close to the subject, however, things “didn’t go well”, and a breakup doesn’t look out of the question.

Brady and Belichick got together on a phone call yesterday to hold preliminary talks about what might, or might not, be in the cards for the Super Bowl champ.  Everyone, including the source, is staying tight-lipped about what transpired during the conversation, but the fact that the two appear to have failed in their talks, despite the long relationship they have, doesn’t bode well for a deal being made.

What Happens If Brady, Belichick Breakup?

If things fall apart, there are at least four teams (some say that at least half the teams would like a shot at the 42-year-old quarterback) that are ready to jump at the chance to sign Brady.  The San Francisco 49ers, a team he supported as a kid in his hometown of San Mateo, CA, is one of them, as are the Tennessee Titans, the LA Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  There have been rumors that the newly relocated Las Vegas Raiders might like to see him added to their roster, but the team denies having a serious interest.  However, that statement may have just been an attempt at trying to keep Brady’s value from being jacked up.

Tom Curran of NBC Sports in Boston believes the race could come down to either the Pats or the Titans.  On the other hand, should the Niners decide to rope him in, it would be an interesting switch, as Jimmy Garoppolo would then, possibly, move back to where he started in 2014 when he was drafted by the Pats.  He continued as Brady’s backup until he went to the Niners in 2017.

Curran acknowledged that the conversation didn’t go well, stating during an interview on SiriusXM that it “wasn’t particularly productive.  He added, “Belichick spoke as if Brady was ‘still under contract.'”  While that may technically be true, teams are already clamoring to make deals on free agents and the contract, at this point, is basically irrelevant since there are no games left in the season.

Based on the “not so hot” phone call from yesterday, it might be a while before Belichick is ready to make a move, and may not do so until after free agency gets underway.  However, he is known for keeping a stone-cold face during negotiations, and he is not just a coach – he’s also a businessman.  Having Brady on the squad is a smart business move and it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t been responsible, in a large way, for the franchise’s economic successes.  Losing him would be bad business, and neither Belichick or CEO and owner Robert Kraft are ready to make a poor business decision.

The Pats have repeatedly hinted at their desire to hang onto their money-maker.  They haven’t been overtly obvious or vocal on the subject, which is to be expected.  In doing so, they would be opening the doors for Brady and agent Don Yee to hold out for every possible dollar the team would be willing to give up.