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Asked if the six-time Super Bowl winner will return to the only franchise he’s ever known, Kraft could only deflect.
“You gotta ask him,” he said on the red carpet ahead of the annual NFL Awards show.
Kraft has been rather non-committal about Brady’s status since the season ended. No doubt, the owner wants the quarterback to stay in New England, but whether or not he’ll give him a contract that convinces him to return remains in question.
If Brady doesn’t return to New England, Kraft has made clear what he’d like to see next for the 42-year-old: retirement.
“I love the young man like he’s part of my family,” Kraft told NBC Sports’ Peter King last month. “Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years. And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he play for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do, and what’s in his own best personal interest.”
That seems like a long shot at this point. Brady posted a lengthy note on Instagram after the season ended reaffirming his desire to play in 2020.
More recently, the quarterback has been linked to the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers—not coincidentally, those are currently the two teams with the most salary-cap room entering the offseason. The Patriots currently have $42 million available this offseason, per Spotrac, which pegs Brady’s market value at $33.7 million per year.
Free agency officially opens on March 18. Expect the speculation on Brady’s next move to only increase as the date draws near.
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