NFL Insider Would Be 'Stunned' If Tom Brady Returns To New England

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Multiple reports surfaced Thursday morning regarding the current status of Tom Brady's contract negotiations with the Patriots.

First, on ESPN's "Get Up" morning show, NFL reporter Jeff Darlington, who is close with people in Brady's inner circle, said that it would shock him if the six-time Super Bowl champion is under center for New England next season.

The show's host, Mike Greenberg, put Darlington on the spot, noting that his relationship with Brady's camp is closer than most reporters.

Darlington went on to say that all of us, including the QB's close friends, need to accept the very real possibility that Brady leaves New England.

"There are people who are very close to Tom Brady, who are being told by Tom Brady — it's not gonna happen, I'm going somewhere else," Darlington revealed. "That's the way we're operating here within those circles, and even those people don't necessarily believe that, at the end of the day, Tom won't go into Bill Belichick's office, and Belichick will tell him they need him back, and Brady will return."

He later adds, "we need to wrap our minds around the fact, that it is far more likely than not, that Tom Brady will not be back with the Patriots."

Darlington later took to Twitter to say that he's having trouble coming to grips with the idea, and that he understands why a lot of people will hate him for his latest report.

Moments after the ESPN report, Boston Herald's Karen Guregian released more information about the latest developments between Brady and the Pats, saying that according to a source, New England has yet to reach out to Brady's representatives about contract negotiations, and that it's "not looking good."

Earlier this week, reports came out that Brady's agent Don Yee was set to meet with the team at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis some time this week. According to Guregian, Yee walked by a scrum of reporters in Indianapolis but declined to comment on the current status of contract negotiations between his client and the team.

One potential reason for the lack of communication between the two sides is that the collective bargaining agreement has yet to be signed. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said the proposal has been sent out to the NFL Players Association membership for a vote, but that process could take up to two weeks.

Rapoport says that over 50 percent of the players have to vote in favor of the proposal in order for it to pass.

Two weeks from today would put us at March 12th, less than a week until free agency begins. If Belichick isn't interested in negotiating with Brady until then, that doesn't leave a lot of time to reach a deal.

WBZ NewsRadio's Dan Watkins (@DanWatkinsRadio) reports

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