Why Patriots are willing to let Tom Brady test free agency

Tom Brady will be returning for his 21st NFL season. We just don’t know where No. 12 will be calling plays in 2020.

The 42-year-old is set to become a free agent in March, and while most expect him to return to the New England Patriots, it’s clear he’ll have a number of suitors, including the Raiders, vying for his services.

A report leaked on Super Bowl Sunday that Jon Gruden and the Raiders will pursue Brady if he failed to re-sign with the Patriots by the start of the new league season. Most assume Brady and the Patriots will come to terms quickly, but owner Robert Kraft reportedly is willing to let the six-time Super Bowl champion see what’s out on the market before coming back to the Patriots with his demands, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday, citing sources. 

From NFL Now: #Patriots owner Robert Kraft felt the best outcome for all parties in 2020 would come after Tom Brady tested free agency. An explanation for why he agreed to let it happen 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/9UkM6aZp2w

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2020

The Patriots reportedly are willing to offer Brady upward of $30 million a year, but if they aren’t able to improve the offensive arsenal around him, he could look to spend his final NFL seasons away from Foxboro, Mass.

If Bill Belichick and Kraft do allow Brady to reach free agency, that could open the door for Gruden, who has a good relationship with Brady, to make his pitch for TB12 to wear silver and black. While it still feels like a long shot, the Patriots allowing Brady to take meetings gives Gruden the opportunity to sell the greatest quarterback in history on becoming a Raider.

A chance is all the Raiders can ask for.

The partnership would make Brady the face of the Las Vegas Raiders, giving the Silver and Black a star to market in their inaugural season in Sin City.  The Raiders do have a dynamic running back in Josh Jacobs, a blossoming star in tight end Darren Waller and reliable slot receiver Hunter Renfrow.

But in order for the Raiders to lure Brady to Vegas, Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock would have to promise to bring in more weapons on the outside to compliment Tyrell Williams, who struggled in his first season with the Raiders. Gruden likely will use one of the Raiders’ two first-round picks on a dynamic receiver such as Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb or Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. But with two picks in the top 19, the Raiders could promise to use both picks on young star receivers and patch up their defense in other ways in order to get Brady the arsenal needed to compete in the AFC West.

[RELATED: Carr unfazed by questions about Raiders future, brother says]

Brady moving from New England to Las Vegas isn’t likely. They’ll be countless NFL teams clamoring for Brady’s service once he hits free agency, some more equipped to win immediately than the Raiders. 

But if the Patriots allow Brady to truly hit the open market, it gives Gruden a puncher’s chance to bring the GOAT to Sin City.

NFL rumors: Why Patriots are willing to let Tom Brady test free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area



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