Patriots

Patriots Talk Podcast: Solving the Tom Brady contract puzzle. Is it even possible?

Patriots Talk Podcast: Solving the Tom Brady contract puzzle. Is it even possible?

We can all attempt to predict what Tom Brady's next move will be as he's set to become a free agent for the first time in his career. But the truth is there are far too many variables for anyone -- even Brady and the New England Patriots -- to know the answer right now.

Tom E. Curran wrote Wednesday about the impasse between Brady and the Pats, noting it's a nearly impossible puzzle to solve. He discussed the subject further with Phil Perry in the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

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Curran explains how the current situation is more complicated than years past:

Robert Kraft already did financially everything he thought he had to do to keep Tom Brady tied up ... They tacked on two more years [onto Brady's contract] in 2016, both of which the Patriots had an option on in case Jimmy Garoppolo stuck around, basically was their ripcord ...

2018 and 2019 they didn't give [Brady] any kind of a bump. When you look at the landscape of the finances, Phil, they're up against it. He got paid $23 million this year and there's bonus money that has to hit the cap.

Perry adds some context to the financials while mentioning a multi-year deal for Brady from the Patriots isn't the most likely scenario.

If he ends up sticking around and they come to an agreement before the new league year hits on March 18, he will have almost $7 million in cap space get tacked onto whatever deal it is that he signs with the team for 2020.

Now, the contract that they sign, it could come in a variety of different forms. He could sign a three-year extension, he could sign a two-year extension, he could just sign the deal that he signed last summer essentially which would just be one year.

I think it's probably pertinent for us, because we could talk about this thing for hours and all the different permutations, to just get out in front and say, Tom I don't think he's getting a multi-year deal from the Patriots. Because he didn't last summer.

For more on the difficult Brady situation, other top Patriots free agents, and whether the Cleveland Browns would be the right fit for Josh McDaniels, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

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Cassel: Why Pats will load up with Brady under center in 2020

Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Jarrett Stidham focused on improving during 2020 offseason, not Tom Brady's free agency

Tom Brady is set to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his 20-year NFL career. While the legendary quarterback could return to the New England Patriots in 2020, there's no guarantee that he will.

If Brady doesn't return, the Patriots will have a number of ways to address the quarterback position. They could target a free agent passer in one of the strongest free agent quarterback classes ever. They could spend a draft pick on one in a strong 2020 quarterback draft class.

Or they could roll with the only other quarterback option they currently have on their roster, 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.

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Stidham spent his rookie season backing up Brady and played a grand total of 15 snaps for the squad. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 14 yards and threw an interception in that action.

Despite his relative inexperience, Stidham would theoretically be the next man up at quarterback if Brady leaves. But moving forward, he isn't thinking a lot about Brady's impending free agency. He's more focused on what he can do to improve heading into his second year.

"Right now, I can't really think too much about [Brady's free agency]. I have to worry about what I need to do to prepare to enhance my game, to learn as much as I possibly can," Stidham said per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "That's the biggest thing I've focused on, making a big stride from Year 1 to Year 2."

That said, Stidham did call his time learning as Brady's backup "priceless" and said that Brady is "phenomenal" in all facets of the game.

"He's a phenomenal teammate, a phenomenal person, obviously a phenomenal player," Stidham said per Reiss. "There was just so much that I got to learn from him. He was obviously very open to me about stuff that he's thought about the game of football, and stuff like that. It was great. I can't speak highly enough of that guy."

Perhaps Stidham's time learning from Brady has served him well. After all, Patriots fans haven't seen him in action since Week 7 and Phil Perry reported that Stidham was impressing his teammates and coaches alike in late-December.

But is he ready to be a starter? The Patriots moves this offseason will surely tell us more about their thoughts on that.

The Patriots won't definitively know what Brady's plans are for 2020 until he puts pen to paper somewhere. In the interim, it's at least encouraging that Stidham is putting in the effort behind the scenes to improve after spending a year learning from Brady. 

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Tom Brady appears to have a kindred spirit as his career continues into his 40s.

Eminem name-drops TB12 on the track "Premonition" off the album "Music To Be Murdered By" which he released on Friday.

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The song takes on the critics of the 47-year-old rapper from Detroit and compares the critiques he gets to ones leveled at LeBron James, 35, and the Patriots quarterback, who'll turn 43 in August. 

Here's part of the song:

“Revival flopped, came back and I scared the crap out ‘em

But Rolling Stone stars, I get two and a half outta

Five, and I’ll laugh out loud

‘Cause that’s what they gave BAD back in the day

Which actually made me not feel as bad now, ‘cause

If it happened to James

It can happen to Shady

They do the same [expletive] to Brady

More people hate me than love me

This game will make you go crazy.”

It's not Eminem's first reference to Brady in one of his songs. In 2013's "Baby", he raps, "I'm what Tom Brady is to the Patriots of rap. Not a man, a weapon."

And it's just the latest Brady reference that has dotted hip-hop and rap since the mid-2000s when the QB led the Pats to the second and third of the six Super Bowl titles they've won. Other artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Kanye West have referenced him as a symbol of excellence. 

Brady told the Boston Globe last year before the Super Bowl he appreciates it.

 “That’s always really cool,” Brady said. “I’m a big fan of so many of those guys. I have a lot of friends [in music] that I’ve met over the years that are fans of what we do, too...I think that mutual appreciation or admiration is really flattering.”