BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Tom Brady was spotted on national television over the weekend, sitting court-side at the Carrier Dome with Julian Edelman and Jimmy Fallon at the Syracuse-North Carolina college basketball game.
There were a few things of note on the "Brady Watch" front that could possibly tell us what the quarterback will do when NFL free agency opens in just over two weeks.
First, there was a moment when the game broadcast returned from commercial break, where the camera went in for a close up of Brady and Edelman. Edelman can clearly be seen saying "he's coming back, he's coming back" to the camera, referring to Brady's upcoming free agency decision. But, before the camera returns to the game, the six-time Super Bowl champ shakes his head and appears to say "he's not."
Now, we're not sure that's exactly what Brady was saying. A good portion of Twitter read the quarterback's lips as "this guy..." meaning he was just brushing off Edelman's antics—not outright saying that he isn't re-signing with the Patriots.
Edelman even doubled down his campaign to get Brady stay with the team by releasing a new political-themed Brady shirt ahead of "Super Tuesday" and the primary election in Massachusetts. The shirt reads: "STAY TOM 2020: A quarterback you can trust."
During halftime of the 'Cuse-UNC game, a fan sitting five rows back or so took a video of the quarterback and receiver, zooming in to see that they were face-timing former Patriots linebacker and current Tennessee Titans' Head Coach Mike Vrabel.
It's not clear if that would constitute as "tampering" under NFL policy or not. Brady and Vrabel were teammates for eight seasons in New England, and are presumably still good friends who may not have even been chatting about the QB's future plans. One other thought is that this could all be a public display to the Patriots that Brady is serious about leaving, and the team needs to make a competitive offer to keep him in Foxborough for the rest of his career.
Last week at the NFL combine, Vrabel was asked about his relationship with Brady, to which he responded only, "Undefeated." This was also before the separate reports from ESPN and the Boston Herald that things were not trending in the direction of the quarterback staying in New England.
NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reported over the weekend that Brady and the team are "Not in a Cold War," further elaborating that the two sides (meaning Brady himself and Bill Belichick) have sent texts, and that the Patriots want Brady to be their signal-caller in 2020.
Curran also says that reports Brady's reps were set to meet with Belichick last week in Indianapolis were "inaccurate," and Brady is not beyond being convinced to stay, despite what ESPN's Jeff Darlington said. Curran's sources told him: "There’s an attachment there. You can’t be someplace for 20 years and not have an attachment. That’s just not who he is."
Curran does note, however, that Brady himself is surprised at the amount of attention it appears he will get if he reaches free agency. But Curran said Patriots fans shouldn't worry, because Brady's representatives and team will have a sit down and put all their cards on the table as to what each side wants in the coming weeks if not days.
It also appears that Brady may know one of the "weapons" that he wants to play with next season. That would be former Patriot and Steeler Antonio Brown. ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler published a story on Monday saying that the two have been in contact, and that Brady would like to bring Brown with him wherever he goes.
According to one of Brown’s attorneys, Brady has told Brown to keep mentally and physically strong so the two can reunite on the field at Brady’s next stop. Anything concerning Brown should be taken with not a grain of salt but a bucket of salt at this point, but it does seem as if Brady and Brown formed at least some level of connection in their incredibly brief time together in New England.
That reunion would be unlikely to happen in New England, since Brown infamously blasted team owner Robert Kraft on Twitter after being cut, referring to the latter's ongoing case in Florida where he was charged for allegedly paying for sex acts at a massage parlor. However, Brown did apologize later on, and it is the NFL we're talking about—crazier things have happened.
Two weeks until the tampering period begins.
WBZ NewsRadio's Dan Watkins (@DanWatkinsRadio) reports