The New England Patriots are apparently putting forth their best effort to keep Tom Brady, or maybe it's their last effort. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting the Patriots have the intent to keep Brady in New England, and are willing to pay him at least $30 million per season to keep him with the only franchise the future Hall of Famer has ever played for.
This is a significant change for New England, a franchise that has never paid Brady more than $23 million a year. Part of that has been Brady's willingness to take less money so the Patriots can spend in other areas, a big reason the franchise has made nine Super Bowls since Brady became the starting quarterback in 2001.
Brady has never been a free agent and will have intriguing options ahead of him come March. The Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have openings at quarterback, all of which may entice Brady. Jameis Winston is a free agent after five up-and-down seasons in Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers has all but signaled farewell in Los Angeles after 16 seasons. Ryan Tannehill is a free agent in Tennessee and may be out of the Titans' price range after earning NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors in a career season. The Raiders will save $16.5 million in cap space if they cut Carr this offseason, putting them in play for Brady.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Raiders will pursue Brady if he doesn't re-sign with the Patriots. That could force New England to try and get a deal done.
One of the biggest factors toward a Brady return in New England will be what skill players the organization will place around him, or what they will attempt to do in a way to convince him to finish his career in New England. The Patriots were seventh in points per game (25.5), but they were carried by a defense that was second in takeaways per game. New England was 14th in yards (351.2), 25th in yards per carry (3.8), and 25th in completion percentage (60.58%). New England had to play Julian Edelman outside of the slot due to the lack of viable options on the outside, causing friction between Brady and the offense throughout the season.
Brady will have a huge decision to make in the coming weeks and has long deserved to get the contract that's coming to him. At the end of the day, his decision will come down to which team gives him the best chance to win his seventh Super bowl title.
We'll see if the Patriots are it.