Tom Brady will become a free agent on March 18, but Robert Kraft has made it very clear where he wants the New England Patriots quarterback to play.
Kraft's latest public comments about Brady's pending free agency came Sunday at Elton John's annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles, where the Patriots owner was asked if Brady will leave the Patriots or re-sign with the club in free agency.
"You know what I want," Kraft replied, according to The Boston Globe's Juliet Pennington.
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Kraft's five-word reply is in line with the three-word response he gave TMZ Sports last month when asked if the Patriots will keep Brady in New England:
"We plan to!"
Kraft was less bullish on Brady's return earlier in January, telling NBC Sports' Peter King he "hope(d)" the 42-year-old would re-sign in New England but that Brady had the freedom to do what he pleased.
But as our Tom E. Curran reported last week, Kraft and the Patriots are willing to push the envelope a bit to keep Brady in New England for a 21st season.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport also provided interesting context on Brady's free agency Monday, explaining why Kraft was willing to let the six-time Super Bowl champion enter free agency in the first place.
While 31 other teams technically have the opportunity to sign Brady beginning March 18, the Patriots seemingly are betting on Brady quickly learning that New England is his best option.
The New England Patriots have won a lot of games over the course of the past two decades. Under Bill Belichick, they've been as well-coached as they come and they simply do a lot of the little things right.
With that said, one of the big reasons that they've avoided losing? Typically, if a team wins the game by double digits, it's going to be the Patriots.
According to Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf), the Patriots have been, far and away, the league's best in games decided by 10+ points since 2001.
That's wildly impressive and officially, they're winning 83 percent of their games that are decided by double figures. To further contextualize how crazy this stat is, the team with the second-most double-digit wins, the Pittsburgh Steelers has 104, a full 38 less than the Patriots.
That's absolutely mind-blowing.
Some will argue that part of the Patriots' success in this area is related to playing in the AFC East; the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets rank in the bottom-11 in this category. But even still, the Patriots' consistency in this category is remarkable, and it's just another feather in the cap of Belichick from his two decades in charge of this team.
It will be interesting to see if Belichick can replicate this success without Tom Brady at the helm. Their performance in such affairs will surely be something to watch as they start a new quarterback, perhaps Jarrett Stidham, permanently for the first time since Brady took over as the starter back in 2001.
It appears that Tom Brady has finally found the words to officially say goodbye to the New England Patriots and their fans.
Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the offseason, ending a 20-year run with the Patriots that saw the team make it to nine Super Bowls and win six. But as Brady explained in a piece on The Players' Tribune, he's ready for a new challenge. And there were rumors that after the magnificent two-decade run, he was simply "Belichick'd out".
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And in addition to all this buzz, Brady was finally able to put together a video goodbye addressed to the Patriots and their fans. Here's a look at the heartfelt farewell, per his official Twitter account.
Surely, that will give fans chills and afford them a chance to relive some of the best moments of Brady's time with the team. And it was nice that Brady officially gave credit and thanks to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft as well, including a clip saying the following:
It's really just about the relationships, you know? It's about the people that I play for. The people that I play with. I think I came into a great situation here. I think there's been a great coach, a great owner, and great teammates.
And not to mention, great success. The Patriots put together one of the greatest dynasties of all time with Brady and Belichick at the helm. And Brady's video brings back the amazing memories and championships that came over the course of those 20 years.
But now, they'll go their separate ways. Belichick will try to rebuild without Brady. And Brady will give Tampa Bay his all as the 42-year-old continues to provide further evidence that he's the greatest player to ever play the game of football.