Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick reiterated it multiple times. He didn't want to discuss the future. Still, the questions came. 

During his end-of-the-season press conference on Sunday morning at Gillette Stadium, he was lobbed queries about Tom Brady's future. He deflected questions about his own future.

Almost 10 minutes into his back-and-forth, though, he provided some insight on the mechanics involved in a decision on Brady's whereabouts for 2020. 

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"Everybody's situation on the team is different," Belichick said. "There are no two that are exactly the same. But the future is the future for all of them, just as it is for Tom and anyone else you want to bring up.

"Certainly Tom is an iconic figure in this organization. Nobody respects Tom more than I do. I respect all the other players and all the other coaches in this organization, too. I think that everybody is an important part of it.

"I want to give the proper attention and communication and detail and thought into my input into those decisions. But any decisions made, it's not an individual decision. There are other people involved. There has to be some type of communication, understanding, agreement, whatever you want to call it. 

"That's not a one-way street. I hope you can understand that. Not one person is going to decide what everyone else is going to do when players aren't under contract. We have a lot of players that aren't under contract."

Brady's input, obviously, will matter. Does he want to be back in New England? If so, then what will it require in terms of years and dollars to keep him there?

 

How does the structure in place with the Patriots — is Josh McDaniels around or no? — impact his decision one way or the other?

Ownership's input, obviously, will matter. Belichick and Robert Kraft clearly were comfortable going into the 2019 season with Brady on a one-year deal. Brady is now scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career.

Could the Kraft family let their face of the franchise for the last two decades walk? What's the number that would lead them to determine it's time to move on?

There's some calculus there — where the lines blur between business decision and football decision, yet where lines will be drawn — that's next to impossible to decipher at this point.

The only certainty at the moment, as it pertains to Brady's future, is that there is uncertainty.