Brady, who told his father Tom Brady Sr. about a week ago that he would be retiring, was to become a free agent once the NFL offseason officially begins in mid-March but will technically walk away from the league as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unless he ends his retirement for a second time and signs with another team.
Speaking to CNN on Thursday morning, New England owner Robert Kraft said he hopes the Patriots can be that team and that Brady will sign a one-day contract so he can officially retire with the franchise he was a member of for two decades and led to six Super Bowl titles.
“I’d do it tomorrow,” Kraft said. “Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it. To us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot. We will do everything in our power to bring him back, have him sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.”
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It’s a nice, if not a bit played-out, sentiment, but if Kraft truly wanted Brady to retire as a member of the Patriots then he never should have let him leave town in March of 2020 and sign with Tampa Bay. In the three years since that decision was made, Brady went 32-18 with Tampa in the regular season, made it to the playoffs three times and won five playoff games, including a Super Bowl. Without Brady over that same span, the Patriots have gone 25-25 in the regular season, made it to the postseason once and lost their lone playoff game badly.
Kraft and the Patriots had their chance to keep Brady in New England three years ago and instead decided they would rather roll the dice with Bill Belichick and an undetermined quarterback of the future. Clearly, that was a massive mistake and one that the team has still not recovered from as they are not close to contending for a Super Bowl and probably still don’t have a franchise quarterback to replace Brady as heir apparent Mac Jones regressed last season after a promising rookie campaign.
Does Brady retiring as a Buc seem wrong? Of course. But Kraft and the Patriots had an opportunity to do right by him (and themselves) in 2020 and they blew it. Symbolically fixing that blunder three years later with a hollow one-day contract may help sell some new Brady jerseys in the Patriot Pro Shop, but it won’t change a thing.