Ted Johnson

Ted Johnson: 'Bill Belichick doesn't want Tom Brady as his quarterback anymore'

Ted Johnson: 'Bill Belichick doesn't want Tom Brady as his quarterback anymore'

Count former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson among those who don't believe that Tom Brady will be returning to the Patriots.

On Friday night's Arbella Early Edition on NBC Sports Boston, Johnson spoke at length about Brady's future in reference to a report that the Patriots and Bill Belichick would only be willing to give him a one-year deal worth less than he made last season.

In that segment, Johnson pointed to that lowball offer as meaning one thing. Belichick is simply done with Brady.

"I just think that Bill Belichick doesn't want Tom Brady as his quarterback anymore. I really feel that way," Johnson said. "Now, you're going to make maybe an offer, it's going to be a lowball offer and you can say, 'Well, we made an offer to Tom', but you really didn't because the offer was insulting to Tom. And so, to me, Bill really doesn't want Tom as his quarterback."

Johnson would go on to explain that the reason Belichick wants to move on from Brady is to prove himself without the player who many view as the greatest in NFL history.

"I think he wants to see what he can do without Tom," Johnson said. "Because I think one of the great debates is, who's more important to the franchise? Bill or Tom? And I think Bill wants to separate himself from Tom."

This certainly is a logical stance and would line up with the reports of fraying the relationship between Brady and Belichick dating to the team's decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. Perhaps the concern is overblown. And maybe Belichick is bluffing. Still, it does seem like there's a legitimate chance that Brady could leave. And Belichick might not mind that.

But as Johnson would go on to say, the team should be looking to find a "graceful way to exit" the situation with Brady. Right now, Johnson doesn't think the team is "going about it the right way."

The end of Brady's free-agent saga should occur soon, provided that the NFL doesn't postpone free agency amid the coronavirus pandemic. But until then, we're left to rely on rumors and gut feelings surrounding Brady.

And Johnson's is that Belichick doesn't want Brady anymore.

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

To no one's surprise, negotiating contracts with Bill Belichick isn't the most pleasant experience.

Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson spent his entire NFL career in Foxboro, but he did have to go through the negotiating process with his longtime head coach.

Thursday on Arbella Early Edition, Johnson explained how contract discussions with Belichick went from his side of the negotiation table.

When I first was being coached by Bill and had my first kind of issue with my contract, Bill reached out to me personally which usually does not happen. I was like, 'Woah, okay, I have an agent.' He was like, 'Yeah I was going to call him.' He wanted to gauge my interest and see how I reacted by him calling me.

Bill will nickel and dime. There was a year that I had -- I played 15 percent of the plays the year before, and he came to ask me for a pay cut. He said, 'Well Ted, you only played 15 percent of the plays.' 'Yeah, Bill, did you know I broke my foot in Week 1 so I missed the next 10 games?' He doesn't care about that stuff. So it is hardball, he doesn't care, he will use the stats against you, and won't factor in all the things that went into those poor stats.

He's not going to blow you away with an offer. He's going to make you sweat it out and make you think, 'Do I really want to leave what I'm comfortable with, or stay here and take less than what other people would offer?'

The Patriots have several players set to hit the free agent market, including quarterback Tom Brady.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Johnson says as a player, it's difficult to take emotion out of the equation during contract negotiations. But for Belichick, it's simply business as usual. Even when it involves a player of Brady's stature.

I got emotional. I got emotional and it probably affected our relationship to some degree for a little bit. Pride got in the way.

And that may be the case here with Tom [Brady] where pride can get in the way. And so with Bill, he's an emotionless machine, man. That was the kind of feeling I got from him that he takes emotion out of it and that's why he's as good as he is. 

Brady will officially become a free agent on March 18 if he and the Patriots cannot come to an agreement on a contract extension before then. Knowing how Belichick operates, either he or Brady likely will have to put pride aside if the six-time Super Bowl champion is to finish his career in New England.

Bill Belichick explains why Patriots didn't call timeout on final drive of the first half

Bill Belichick explains why Patriots didn't call timeout on final drive of the first half

Before halftime in their game against the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots had the ball on their own 25-yard line. They had 57 seconds on the clock, three timeouts left and potentially could have tried to mount a scoring drive to close the half.

Instead, the Patriots ran the ball twice and elected to head into the locker room.

And after the 27-24 loss that the team suffered, that decision came under scrutiny.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

When asked why the Patriots didn't call a timeout after either of their run plays, Bill Belichick provided a pretty simple answer.

"We would have done that if we got a first down," Belichick said.

And as for why the Patriots elected not to call a timeout before Miami punted the ball in order to give themselves more time to hold onto the ball, Belichick acknowledged that he didn't want to give the Dolphins a chance to get the ball back. 

"[We wanted to] see what kind of field position we got, and if we could advance the ball, then we'd take them," Belichick said. "But we didn't want to give the ball back with their timeouts at the end of the half either."

So essentially, the Patriots were playing it safe. After all, the game was tied at the time, they were getting the ball back after halftime, and their offense wasn't doing much at that point in the game. Tom Brady even admitted that when discussing the decision after the contest. 

"We weren't executing great, so I can understand the decision but... It was a lot of things today," Brady said.

But could Belichick's decision also have been a message to the Patriots offense and Tom Brady? That's how former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson viewed the move and explained his reasoning on NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Postgame Live.

"I think that was a calculated thing," Johnson said. "My feeling — my gut — on this is that Bill was sending a message to Tom. That's what it was. I mean, there's no other explanation other than 'I don't believe in you, Tom. Tom, you know what? You don't deserve another chance to put points up. This is on you, Tom.' 

"The first two plays when they did get the ball back were run plays and then they ran it out. You know what the first two plays were to open the second half for the Patriots? Two run plays, can't convert on third down, punt. It was if they were like, 'You know what, we're done putting the ball in your hands, Tom.' "

But why exactly would Belichick elect to do this knowing that missing out on a chance to score could hurt the team?

"Here's the thing with Bill," Johnson said. "Sometimes he cuts off his nose to spite his face — Malcolm Butler — where you're like, 'What are you doing, Bill? What's the overall lesson? What are you trying to say to this offense?' It's Tom Brady, for crying out loud... To not trust your offense in that situation might have cost you the game, Bill."

There certainly is an argument to be made that the decision cost the Patriots some points. While it can also be argued that the team still should have been able to beat the Dolphins after the half, the decision will deservingly be questioned because it contributed to the Patriots losing not only the game, but also a first-round bye.