Report: Tom Brady's Agent, Patriots 'Expected to Meet' at NFL Combine
The first major offseason event is underway this week in Indianapolis: the NFL Scouting Combine. It's an opportunity for players, coaches, agents and media members to watch and interview some of the collegiate talent that is set to hit the NFL in 2020.
But those aren't the only things that go down in Indy this week.
With all of those people meshed into one city, there will be plenty of side conversation that will lead to plenty of rumors and speculation over the next five days. For the Patriots, the speculation begun Monday night, and, of course, involved their star-studded quarterback.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports reported last week that Tom Brady and New England would begin contract discussions "in a couple weeks," which meant either during or directly after the NFL Combine. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, that timetable has been narrowed down to during the NFL Combine.
“While, of course, there is so much discussion about the players yet to enter the NFL, so much of what happens here in Indianapolis involves the players who are going to be free agents over the course of the next month — none bigger, none more important than Tom Brady,” Rapoport said Monday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." “Though he’s had some conversations with the Patriots, and his longtime representative Don Yee has as well since the Super Bowl, since the playoffs and all that, they really haven’t gotten into any hardcore negotiations. It is possible that begins here in Indianapolis.
“At the least, the two sides are expected to meet,” said Rapoport. “… It should be the starting off point for dialogue, real dialogue over the course of the next month. Either way, nothing’s expected to happen until right up to the cusp of free agency at that point all sides should know what Brady’s plans are.”
This is the first time that it's been reported that Brady, his agent, Don Yee, and the Patriots have had discussions since the Super Bowl. Brady mentioned during the postseason on Westwood One that he had spoken to members of the Patriots organization since New England's season had ended, but declined to mention what the conversations were about. Now, it seems that there has been light conversation about Brady's future leading up to the combine, which, according to Rapoport, should dial up this week in Indianapolis.
However, even though conversations are "expected" to be had this week, it's important to note that nothing will be finalized. As Rapoport mentions, nothing is expected to happen until the cusp of free agency. Even at that point, New England has no control over what Brady does heading into free agency. All they can do is hope their offer, whatever it may be, is strong enough to convince Brady to re-sign with the Patriots before the March 18 deadline. If he doesn't, then the 42-year-old QB leaves behind a $13.5 million cap hit. That's a big hit for a team that is dealing with very limited cap space this offseason and needs to acquire more offensive talent in the free agency window.
Expect some more Tom Brady-related nuggets to come out over the next few days, as the media frenzy is well underway in Indy.