There's one question that we have all been asking ourselves throughout the month of February: Why haven't the New England Patriots begun contract negotiations with Tom Brady?
Seeing that the Patriots' 42-year-old quarterback will be a hot candidate once he hits free agency, and New England doesn't have a surefire plan for the post-Tom Brady era, one would think that, at the very least, a formal sit-down would have already been had between Patriots brass and Brady's agent, Don Yee. But that's not the case.
However, some enlightenment has been shed on the reasoning as to why that sit-down has not happened yet, which makes it much more understandable.
According to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, one reason why Brady and the Patriots have not had any contract discussions yet is because of the uncertainty behind whether or not there will a new CBA. And as one source put it to Schefter, "without knowing about the CBA, that talk can't happen."
Because of New England's projected available salary cap when free agency begins ($29.06 million, according to BSJ's Miguel Benzan) and the 30 percent rule that is currently in place because of the expiring CBA, signing Brady to a respectable, multi-year contract is very difficult for New England this offseason. However, if a new CBA were to be put in place before free agency begins on March 18, the 30 percent rule would be wiped out and would allow the Patriots to backload a multi-year contract for Brady.
But until that happens, as Schefter mentions, contract negotiations can't be had between the two parties, simply because it would be a waste of time. Until they know whether or not a new CBA will be installed, there's not sense in having a discussion. Having a new CBA or not will drastically effect what a contract offer for Brady from New England would look like, so the waiting game will continue on until they are given an answer on that front.