Robert Kraft wants Tom Brady to explore free agency before Patriots negotiations, per report

Quarterback Tom Brady is poised to be an unrestricted free agent for the very first time, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has no plans to put a stop to it.

That sounds ominous, but according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, that’s exactly the way he wants it.

On Monday’s NFL Now, Rapoport explained his understanding of the Brady/Patriots/Kraft situation. Patriots fans can exhale: it’s not bad!

Kraft reportedly wants Brady to test free agency first before anything else. According to Rapoport, Kraft wants Brady to see what’s out there and what other teams are offering before coming back and talking with him. That way, if a team like the Los Angeles Chargers offers Brady a mountain of cash on a one-year contract, the Patriots can choose to negotiate with him or the two sides can part ways.

Essentially it boils down to Brady and the Patriots being each other’s best option. If Brady gets a big offer from another team, would it be worth the extra money for him to play one of his final seasons away from Foxboro? For the Patriots, is saving a few million dollars worth starting their second choice quarterback when Brady is still healthy and playing?

Both sides are operating from a place of familiarity and friendship, but it’s still business. Brady won’t take less than he’s worth, and the Patriots won’t massively overpay — not even for one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Despite that, none of this is bad news for Patriots fans. That Kraft wants Brady to experience free agency first and then come back to negotiate just reinforces their relationship and their preference for each other. Kraft wants the final word on whether Brady will be back with the Patriots next season, so he’s not letting go of Brady just yet.

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