Don Yee

NFL rumors: Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee, expected to meet with Patriots at NFL Combine

NFL rumors: Tom Brady's agent, Don Yee, expected to meet with Patriots at NFL Combine

The New England Patriots are facing unusual uncertainty at quarterback this offseason.

Tom Brady is set to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 20-year NFL career and it seems legitimately possible that he may not return to the Patriots. At the moment, it's unclear where he'll end up and there won't likely settle on a landing spot until mid-March.

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But as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport pointed out Monday on NFL Now, the Patriots are expected to have some more conversations with Brady and his agent, Don Yee, during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Though (Brady and Yee) have had some conversations with the Patriots since the Super Bowl, the playoffs, and all that, they haven’t really gotten into any hard-core negotiations. It is possible that begins here in Indianapolis. The two sides are expected to meet as, of course, every agent and every team meets. It should be the starting off point for real dialogue over the course of the next month. Either way, nothing's expected to happen until right up in the cusp of free agency. At that point, all sides should know what Brady’s plans are.

These rumors at least demonstrate that the Patriots are doing what they can to speak with Brady ahead of free agency. And as Tom E. Curran said Monday on NBC Sports Boston's Boston Sports Tonight, it makes sense for the team to do this.

It makes sense that they get after it now because the guy's going to be a free agent in less than a month. And you better start moving forward with 'Okay, Tom, what do you want? Here are the things we're planning to do. Are you in, or are you out?' and then start talking numbers.

Curran went on to say he "wouldn't imagine [the meeting] to be climactic" if it does, in fact, happen. So, for those hoping that the Patriots will be able to lock up Brady ahead of free agency, it still seems highly unlikely to happen barring a change of heart.

Brady will officially become an unrestricted free agent on March 18 and he is unlikely to last long on the open market. Though the 2020 free agent quarterback class is loaded, Brady still tops the bunch because of his history of high-level play and ability to win championships.

 

In Tom Brady's case, are NFL tampering rules made to be broken?

In Tom Brady's case, are NFL tampering rules made to be broken?

If Robert Kraft ever commissioned a sculptor to carve “10 Patriots Commandments” you’d be sure to find, “Thou Shalt Not Tamper With Our Employees” somewhere on that stone tablet.

Throughout Kraft’s ownership and Bill Belichick’s stewardship of the football operations, loyalty has been rewarded and betrayal punished.

From January 1997, when the Jets were monkeying around with Bill Parcells when the Patriots were getting ready for Super Bowl 31 against the Packers, through June 2019, when the Texans made their overtures to Nick Caserio, the Patriots have made one thing very clear: they aren’t going to be patsies when it comes to other teams trying to lure their people away.

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Which brings us to Tom Brady. As everything does. Do the Patriots care that a stealth parade of suitors is probably all up on him already?

Is this uber-protective organization fine with half of the league’s teams sniffing under the tail of the most important player in franchise history before they’re supposed to?

Rampant tampering with prospective free agents isn’t the NFL’s dirty little secret.

It’s not dirty since it’s somewhat necessary.

It’s not little since every team does it.

And it’s not even treated as a secret.

This week, the estimable and honorable Tedy Bruschi was asked about Brady on ESPN.
 

“I think he’s gonna see what’s out there for himself,” said Bruschi. “Matter of fact, I know he will. But I don’t think he’s going to have to wait until March 16 because you’ve got agents, you’ve got talk going on behind the scenes and I think he has an idea on the teams that are highly interested in him ... He will explore his options and he has the right to do so.”

The question then becomes what’s the league office going to do about it?

We all know the NFL’s penchant for selective rules enforcement. We all know they’ll happily string the Patriots up for transgressions real or imagined and let them twist in the wind. We all know the so-called Spygate II investigation that could have been cleared up in 20 minutes is still ongoing.

So, even if everybody’s doing it, isn’t it a little (a lot) hypocritical for the league to turn a blind eye to teams crawling up the trellis to slip in Brady’s window after dark?

Yes, it is. But a little hypocrisy never slowed the league down from doing anything.

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Besides, they might say, tampering with Tom Brady is actually a victimless crime. It actually does the Patriots a favor.

If Brady and his agent Don Yee have a sense of what’s out there before they start negotiating with New England, then the need for Brady to go on a free-agent tour is eliminated.

If Team Brady has no clue, then Yee starts from scratch when the legal tampering period begins March 16 at noon. 

There’s no way to vet each of the opportunities -- a source close to the situation figures there will be 10 teams expressing interest -- before free agency starts March 18 at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, how are the Patriots supposed to convince free-agent tight ends or wideouts to come aboard if those players don’t know whether or not Tom Brady will be a Patriot? It’s easily argued that outside teams tampering with Brady is in the Patriots’ best interests.

Besides, if this really isn’t about the money -- and I’ve been told often enough that it isn’t -- it won’t matter if some crap-ass team is offering $70 million over two years.

The persuasion in the Patriots pitch has to revolve around "who" and not "how much." The team that Brady plays for in 2020 won’t be the winner of a bidding war, it will be the one that provides the best ready-made landing spot to compete for a championship and have a shitload of fun while doing it.

All that said, it will still seem odd to me if the Patriots -- whether it be Kraft or Belichick -- don’t somehow have their sense of honor offended by all the predicted sneaking around.

It’s always offended their sensibilities going back to January 1997 when it came to light that Bill Parcells spent the week leading up to Super Bowl 31 ringing up the Jets from his New Orleans hotel room instead of getting the Patriots ready to play the Packers.

The Krafts were apoplectic. Belichick, an assistant on that 1996 Patriots team, was pissed too.

"Yeah, I'd say it was a little bit of a distraction all the way around," Belichick told our Michael Holley for Holley’s book Patriot Reign. "I can tell you first hand, there was a lot of stuff going on prior to the game. I mean, him talking to other teams. He was trying to make up his mind about what he was going to do. Which, honestly, I felt [was] totally inappropriate. How many chances do you get to play for the Super Bowl? Tell them to get back to you in a couple of days. I'm not saying it was disrespectful to me, but it was in terms of the overall commitment to the team."

Every situation’s different, I guess. In this case, the tampering rules were made to be broken.

Tom Brady's agent expects QB will play in 2018

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Tom Brady's agent expects QB will play in 2018

Tom Brady's agent Don Yee told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he expects New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play in 2018.

"Tom's intentions have not changed," Yee told ESPN Monday. "He's consistently said he'll play beyond this contract and into his mid 40s, or until he feels he isn't playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he's been firm about."

Brady has been absent from the team's voluntary workouts at Gillette Stadium. He has instead elected to spend more time with his family while working with his body coach Alex Guerrero. After Brady was absent for the team's conditioning and strength program, ESPN's Schefter reported that there was some uncertainty as to whether Brady might play in 2018. Brady's contract was linked, in part, to that uncertainty, according to NFL Media.

"His objective every year is to outperform his contract and his own goals," Yee told ESPN. "And like every player, yes, he thinks about his contract -- it's a pretty natural thing to do. Every team's management knows this."

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