Tom Brady, Patriots Have Made 'No Movement' on Contract Talks
Jason B. Hirschhorn
Before the Los Angeles Chargers or any potential suitor of Tom Brady can make a formal overture, the exclusive negotiating window between the veteran quarterback and the New England Patriots needs to toll without the two sides reaching a new contract. No deal has emerged as of yet, and it doesn't appear the team has made any progress toward striking one.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots have made "no movement to date" on contract talks with Brady. Absent a new deal, the six-time Super Bowl champion signal-caller will reach free agency for the first time in his two-decade career.
Last offseason, Brady negotiated a two-year extension with the Patriots that increased his pay in 2019. However, because of language included in the agreement, the contract officially voids at the start of the 2020 league year (March 18), making him an unrestricted free agent. Additionally, the deal stipulates that New England cannot apply the franchise or transition tag to Brady, removing the final impediment between the quarterback and the open market.
Even with an expiring deal, Brady can still choose to sign a new contract with the Patriots before the legal-tampering window opens on March 16, two days before the start of free agency.
Yet, in the absence of significant progress in negotiations, it appears increasingly likely that Brady will indeed remain unsigned at the start of the new league year and begin a free-agency tour to evaluate his options. That could and likely will include a meeting with Chargers brass, who have a void behind center after parting ways with longtime starter Philip Rivers earlier this offseason.
In the end, Brady might still return to New England after visiting with other teams. But as his availability and options increase, so does the possibility of him leaving the only NFL team for which he has played.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH