With the NFL Scouting Combine getting underway in Indianapolis this week, much of the attention around the league turns towards the next generation of talent preparing to enter the fold in 2020. However, much of the business behind the scenes at the league’s flagship pre-draft event revolves around the free agent class-to-be.
This year’s class is unchartered territory for one of the faces of the NFL – New England Patriots QB Tom Brady – who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 18 for the first time in his 20-year career. Speculation surrounding the 42-year-old signal caller continues to grow, including a recent indication that Brady could be seeking a two-year commitment from the Patriots organization.
On Monday night’s edition of NFL Now, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that representation from both sides will likely touch base at some point during this week at the NFL Combine.
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“Though (Brady and Yee) have had some conversations with the Patriots since the Super Bowl, the playoffs, and all that, they haven’t really gotten into any hard-core negotiations. It is possible that begins here in Indianapolis. The two sides are expected to meet as, of course, every agent and every team meets. It should be the starting off point for real dialogue over the course of the next month. Either way, nothing’s expected to happen until right up in the cusp of free agency. At that point, all sides should know what Brady’s plans are.”
While appearing on Boston Sports Tonight on Monday evening, NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran expanded on the basis for Rapoport’s report.
“It makes sense that they get after it now because the guy’s going to be a free agent in less than a month,” said Curran. “And you better start moving forward with ‘Okay, Tom, what do you want? Here are the things we’re planning to do. Are you in, or are you out?’ and then start talking numbers.”
It remains to be seen just how long into the free agency process the Patriots will be willing to wait on a decision from the future Hall of Famer. However, previous reports indicate the team may be willing to shell out more than $30 million annually to ensure Brady sticks in New England for at least one more season. Spotrac lists Brady’s market value at approximately $33.8 million – or $67.7 million over the course of a two-year contract.
The three-time MVP has also been connected to a handful of other quarterback-needy franchises, including the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans. Should Brady choose to test the open market, he and his representatives can officially begin speaking to teams as early as March 16.
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