Patriots' Tom Brady keeps 'open-minded' approach ahead of NFL free agency


Even as the NFL playoffs wind down with Championship Sunday setting the scene for Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, Tom Brady's highly anticipated offseason decision is already making headlines.

Since the Patriots' 2019 season ended with Jan. 4's 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round, New England and the 42-year-old quarterback have a major choice on the horizon.

Set to hit free agency after he completed his 20th year in the league -- all with the Patriots -- Brady's potential departure from New England could land him outside the AFC East for the 2020 campaign.

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Making an appearance Sunday on his weekly radio interview with Westwood One, Brady said that he would remain open to all possibilities -- including the scenario of the six-time Super Bowl champ playing elsewhere.

"I'm open-minded about the process," Brady said, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. "At the same time, I love playing football and I want to continue to play and do a great job. I'm looking forward to what's ahead. Whatever the future may bring, I'll embrace it with open arms."

Brady added that he has spent his past two weeks "decompressing from the season" and spending time with family.

The free agency negotiating window kicks off March 16 and runs through March 18, setting the stage for March 19's 4 p.m. ET mark where players can officially sign with teams.

Although teams can issue the franchise tag on players starting March 10 at 4 p.m. ET, Brady's contract is structured so that he cannot receive one, providing flexibility for him and the Patriots with a new collective bargaining agreement coming soon.

The Patriots went 12-4 overall and won the AFC East for the 11th straight year, adding to a reign that features 17 of the past 19 division titles (the Jets won the 2002 championship), but relied on the NFL's top-ranked defense in total yards (275.9) and points (14.1) allowed per game.

Brady, meanwhile, completed 373 of 613 passes (60.8 percent) for 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions on 6.6 yards per attempt and a career-low 52.6 quarterback rating.

He spent his Saturday night on hand for UFC 246, the mixed martial arts fight between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where the soon-to-be free agent caught up with Raiders owner Mark Davis.

Brady and Davis photos on social media instantly sparked speculative conversations because Oakland, of course, is set for the franchise's move to Las Vegas in 2020.

While the speculation around Brady is only beginning, if he chooses to leave the Patriots, his next chapter could pick back up in Los Angeles with the Chargers, Jason La Canfora reported Oct. 27.

"I think I'm just ... I'll explore those opportunities whenever they are," Brady told Peter King of NBC Sports on Jan. 6. "If it's the Patriots, great. If that doesn't work, I don't know. I just don't know. I love playing football. I still want to play football. I think I still can play at a championship level. I've just got to go do it. I'm motivated to get back to work and training."

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