While appearing on The Greg Hill Show, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter raised eyebrows by saying this season has the elements to be Tom Brady's last with the New England Patriots. Schefter cited Brady’s contract situation and recently putting his home up for sale as reasons (transcription via NESN):
“Well, (his contract is) going to be an issue that just hangs out there all year long,” Schefter said. “And I didn’t hear of any discord (in the negotiations), I’m not aware of any discord, I don’t think that that was a factor. I just think that — you know people forget that people have lives and they have families, and sometimes you want to do what’s best for your wife and your kids. And Tom is 42 now, and I’m sure that his family has sacrificed plenty for him to do what he’s done and to be as dedicated as he is to his job, to do it at the level he has. So, again, if it’s me just looking at it from the outside, I’m just reading the signs, right? His home is for sale, he’s on a contract that voids. I mean, it’s just saying, it’s just saying that this has the potential, one way or another, for this to be his last season in New England.
“Let me repeat that: His home is for sale, his contract voids. It has the potential, I’m not telling you it will be, but I’m just telling you the elements are in place for it to be,” Schefter continued. “That doesn’t mean it will be, but isn’t that odd, all those things? Doesn’t that make you go, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ It makes me go, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ Again, we’ll see what he does, but I’m just telling you (the elements are there).
To be clear, Schefter is not reporting this, but he is also the sport’s most connected reporter and not just some talk show host throwing this out there as day-trading content. Therefore, his statements come with an extra level of curiosity and interest. It’s also not hard to piece together reasons to believe this really could be Brady’s last season with the only NFL team he has ever been on.
Not only has this been a bizarre offseason for Brady, suspiciously putting his house on the market, but the Patriots also have a long history of getting rid of players a year or two before anyone can make sense of it. You may think Brady is different, but that doesn’t mean Bill Belichick does.
If this does turn out to be Brady’s last season in New England, the safe bet is it won’t be his last in the NFL. He is hell-bent on playing until he is 45 and is wired in a way that will be just as determined to prove the Patriots need him more than he needs them.
And what does all this mean? The never-ending “Who is more valuable: Tom Brady or Bill Belichick” debate may end with an answer, after all.