This story originally appeared on and was written by Ray Rauth. Read more here.

The biggest story in the NFL right now is Tom Brady’s upcoming free agency, and whether or not he will re-sign with the New England Patriots, the team he’s called home for 20 years.

Adam Shefter believes that the Patriots learned a very valuable lesson from Rob Gronkowski’s retirement last season, and he doesn’t believe that the Patriots will wait around too long for Tom Brady to make a decision on his playing future.

That could be an issue because Brady has said a couple of times that he wants to take his time, spend time with his family, and assess his situation and make the decision that’s best for him.

It’s a very real possibility that Brady decides the Patriots is the best decision for him, but the question becomes, will the Patriots still have a need at quarterback by the time Brady makes a decision. Shelter The Greg Hill show on WEEI, and said that the Patriots are going to need an answer from Brady.

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I am just saying if you’re New England, you need to get that answer,” Schefter said. “You can’t repeat at quarterback what happened at tight end last year. At tight end last year Rob Gronkowski announces the eve of the owners’ meetings in late March he’s retiring. We were two weeks into free agency at that point in time. There are no other suitable alternatives on the free-agent market at tight end and New England really never filled the position all year long. They did the best they could, but there’s nobody like that.”

Ian Rapoport floated a report on Super Bowl Sunday that New England was willing to give Brady a contract worth up to $30 million per season, and that raised a lot of eyebrows. The Patriots are projected to have about $29 million in cap space and still have a ton of free agents to sign. It’s also been heavily reported that Brady wants to see the Patriots’ commitment to signing offensive weapons, which is virtually impossible if New England spends its remaining cap on Brady.

There have also been rumors that the Patriots floated that number to the media so if Brady does move on from New England, the Patriots can save face and say “Look, we did everything we could to bring Brady back, and he decided to leave”. Essentially the Patriots would try and make Brady look like the villain. Shefter’s one of those people who don’t believe the Patriots are willing to pay Brady $30 million a season.

“I don’t think they can do that, but OK let’s not let facts get in the way here,”

The other issue the Patriots are running into is, the offseason has officially started for the entire NFL and according to Shefter, both sides haven’t met regarding Brady’s contract.

“Not contractually. They haven’t had negotiations,” Schefter said. “They haven’t sat down to have the conversation they need to have — ‘Hey, what do you want to do?’ I am sure they are talking generally. Yeah, I am sure. They were at the Super Bowl on Sunday together.”

If we are to believe the Patriots aren’t willing to wait around and see what Brady wants to do, the lack of communication on a contract is an issue, because at some point the Patriots would need to move on, and the longer the two sides wait to talk, the more likely Tom Brady’s tenure with the Patriots ended with an interception in a Wildcard game.

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