Report Says The Patriots Offered Brady a 2-Year Extension in 2019, but He Just Wanted Out

As I've predicted all along, this week is rapidly killing me. 

Last weekend was my wedding anniversary and it just occurred to me that I've spent more time over the last five years contemplating the personal relationship between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady than I have my own marriage over 28 years. And now that we're days away from these two exes getting back together for either a contentious fight or the most cringey makeup sex of all time, here we find ourselves rehashing the issues that made them split in the first place. Like I knew we would.

But just to focus on the business side, not the personal, there's been a lot of going back over the contract talks that went on during the legal separation period from 2018-19. On "Do Your Pod," Patriots and Brady insider Tom E. Curran told us that once Jimmy Garoppolo was dealt and Brady was clearly the future, he looked for a long term deal and felt he got lowballed with incentives. Then this week began with Belichick saying Brady was still wanted in New England and welcome to stay but left of his own volition:


And now we get a new report that, if true, would indicate that would support Belichick's version. And mean that Brady had little to no intention of staying, regardless of his paycheck: - The Athletic’s Jeff Howe suggests the narrative that Belichick pushed Brady out of town may not be entirely accurate. 

In an appearance on NESN After Hours with Cealey Godwin, Howe provided details about a multi-year contract the Patriots reportedly offered Brady. …

“The Patriots offered him two years and $53 million in training camp in 2019, and Brady turned it down,” Howe said. “He ultimately took what amounted be a raise of several million, and it gave him an out to leave the Patriots after the 2019 season.”

I'll interject here and remind you that the out was Brady's idea. He requested and got a commitment from the team that they wouldn't franchise him after the 2019 season and then noped out of here as soon as his deal was up. The article continues with my emphasis:

Howe’s assertion of the Patriots’ interest in keeping Brady goes beyond the dollars.

“Again, I think too many people are looking at this and saying that the Patriots kicked him out the door, they didn’t set him up for success,” the insider explained. “You look going into that last year, Belichick drafted a receiver [N’Keal Harry] in the first round. He signed Demaryius Thomas. He signed Antonio Brown. They brought in the guys." … [A]s Howe said, “the effort was there” from the Patriots to keep Brady in town. “Tom Brady just didn’t want to stick around.”   

Nobody knows for sure besides the people immediately involved, but this is the version of events that makes the most sense to me. That two-year, $53 million offer is what Drew Brees got. Not that Brees was ever Brady's equal. But that's a fair estimation of the going rate for a great quarterback whose train is getting close to the last water stop on his long and storied journey. And if it wasn't enough, there was always the chance for a counter offer. And anyone who immediately says, "After everything Brady did for this team, he shouldn't have to negotiate. Just offer him what he wants" has clearly never bought a thing or asked for a raise. 

Besides, and this is very much to Brady's credit, you'll have a hard time convincing me that in 2019, after everything he'd accomplished and earned in his career, that finally he reached a point where he began measuring respect in dollars. No one hits the age of 41 and suddenly decides to do a philosophical 180. Especially when it comes to how he conducts business. 

It just makes a lot more sense that Brady didn't like the talent he had around him. Or how it was trending. Gronk clashed with the coaches about his training methods and semi-retired rather than play for them another season. Thomas didn't make the Week 1 roster. Harry missed half the year and didn't do much when he was in. And Brown could've solved a lot of problems if he could've just acted like a sane adult for five months. But he couldn't make it past 11 days. Plus Josh Gordon went into rehab stint No. 27 and was gone for the year.

Argue whose fault it is that none of those guys worked out and why Brady had to get by in 2019 with nothing but Julian Edelman and a bunch of protocol droids. But it wasn't for lack of trying on the team's part. It was failure; not disinterest. 

Meanwhile, it didn't take a lot of effort to look around the league and see a Tampa team loaded with weapons on both sides of the ball and an interception machine at quarterback and decide that's - to use the coach's term - a better option. And it's probably fair to say that no amount of money would've kept him in Foxboro once he made up his mind he needed a change of scenery. And a change of receivers and tight ends. Which worked out rather well for him. 

The divorce still happened. It still hurts. And will continue to. It just helps a little to hear, "It wasn't you, it was him."