When did the speculation surrounding Tom Brady’s future jump the shark?
Pretty much the day Adam Schefter appeared on national television in December and listed his three, very obvious, options as he headed towards free agency. Since then, the wheel of reckless and rampant speculation has turned without slowing down. Often, we get days that produce stories suggesting Brady is leaning in two opposite directions. How is that possible?
According to physics, it is impossible. However, in the world of accountability-free sports journalism, it is feasible if you simply make things up. Now, that is not to say that SOME folks may have been fed third or fourth hand information. Others have avoided the irresponsible speculation and reported just the facts. This isn’t meant as a broad swipe at the industry. However, these days, speculation turns into reports and reports eventually evolve into “facts” (See “The Patriots History of Cheating”) and we get to the point where people take stories of “Brady possibly signing with the Saints” seriously.
Over the weekend, a tidbit was relayed by former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis on SiriusXM and later highlighted by Mike Reiss of ESPN in his Sunday notes that may, however unlikely, slow down the speculation in the final days heading into free agency. Or at least the believability of said speculation.
According to Weiss, in a conversation he had with Brady himself, the soon-to-be 43-year-old quarterback had a simple explanation for all of it… no one knows anything.
“I do have one bit of scoop for us,” said Weiss on SiriusXM. “I’ve been texting with Tommy. I don’t [usually] pass along these conversations, but one thing he told me — ‘Nobody knows anything. So anyone who is telling you they know, they don’t know.’ I’m not going through any other part of the conversation [but] I followed up and he said, ‘Clean it up.’ So I’m cleaning it up.”
This is the most reasonable bit of information that has come out during this entire saga. Not coincidentally, it is coming from [almost] the horse’s mouth himself. But it also explains how we have come to the point in which we are at. No one cares about being wrong just being first.
So, what DO we know?
Well, for one, we know Brady is going to play. That question has been answered more times than I can count. We also know that Robert Kraft wants Brady to play in New England. And, until proven otherwise, it is safe to assume that Brady and even Bill Belichick himself still want him there. No, Belichick is not chomping at the bit to get Andy Dalton under center next season.
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In addition, we know there is a hesitation on the part of some teams given the proximity of the vote to ratify the CBA. Whether it passes or not, teams will have more clarity on the future structure of the NFL economy. This is particularly important for the Patriots when it comes to Brady as he will carry a $13.5M cap hit regardless of if he is on the team or not in 2020. And, since a two-year deal is what he is likely looking for, it could have an impact on how the Patriots structure the contract as they spread out bonus money and monies owed.
So, until we actually hit free agency, ignore the fodder. Let’s wait until we all have a bit more clarity of the parameters in which the Patriots will have to work with when it comes to the potentially new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In my opinion, it’s Brady or Jarrett Stidham for the Patriots. And, at the end of the day, Brady is and has been the best option for the Patriots just as the Patriots are the very best option for Brady moving forward. Expect a rather anti-climatic end to the saga come the middle of March.