With the number of suitors for Brady whittling itself down to just a handful of teams in recent days, many held out hope that Brady and the Patriots would ultimately strike another short-term deal to maintain the status quo.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots insider Tom E. Curran, those negotiations never truly took place.
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“In the end, a tangible effort by the Patriots to keep Tom Brady in New England never happened,” Curran wrote on Twitter. “No negotiation. Just the intimation that it was on Brady to say what he wanted. For Brady, that stance spoke volumes.”
Shortly after the Brady news broke, Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed to ESPN’s Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss that it was the 42-year-old quarterback who initiated the conversation to part ways on Monday evening.
“Tommy initiated contact last night & came over. We had a positive, respectful discussion. It’s not the way I want it to end, but I want him to do what is in his best personal interest. After 20 years with us, he has earned that right. I love him like a son.”
When asked if he felt a sense of disappointment that the organization did not get further along in negotiations with the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, Kraft told Curran that Brady’s decision was ultimately bigger than that.
“It’s not about that,” Kraft told NBC Sports Boston. “This is big picture. I just don’t think he was going to be happy staying in our system at this point.”
While a decision on Brady’s next playing destination is not expected today, his options remain somewhat limited. Reports from around the league suggest that the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins and to a lesser degree, the Las Vegas Raiders, remain in the hunt to land the three-time MVP. On the NFC side, only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have firmly established themselves in the running with an aggressive pitch to Brady’s camp on Monday.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has confirmed that both the Chargers and Buccaneers have made offers in the $30 million range annually – a figure that was highly unlikely to be matched by the Patriots given their current salary cap standing.
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