FOXBORO — Tom Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time was cemented long before his final season in New England. These six Super Bowl banners will forever hang inside Gillette Stadium. His photos will likely continue to hang around Patriot Place because this area will never forget the “GOAT.”
The latest NFL news on Tuesday won’t change that.
During the 2019 season, Brady was communicating with Miami Dolphins vice president and sponsoring partner Bruce Beal. The conversation started in August when the quarterback was at his last training camp with the Patriots. According to the NFL, that’s when the Dolphins organization began tampering with Brady in an effort to lure the quarterback to Miami when free agency hit the upcoming offseason. The NFL says those conversations with Beal, who delivered the message to the property, continued throughout the 2019 season and into the offseason.
The Dolphins organization had their 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick withdrawn due to tampering charges announced Tuesday.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Providence Journal that Brady will not be disciplined for what happened with the Dolphins brass.
Tuesday’s news made things slightly more complicated for Brady, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the New England organization. It doesn’t sound like Brady was talking to the Dolphins while his team was in training camp or fighting for a regular-season playoff berth. While it doesn’t seem like the news was enough to deal a blow to Brady’s relationship with owner Robert Kraft or move away from a loyal fan base, it certainly does make things a little awkward.
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Does this complicate Brady’s legacy? Not really. He helped bring six Super Bowl championships to the Patriots.
Does this shed more light on how badly he wanted to leave New England why things went wrong in 2019? Absolutely.
On Wednesday, Belichick wouldn’t comment on the Dolphins’ situation.
“Yeah, I’m not really worried about that,” Belichick said when asked about the news. “I’m just trying to get into training camp.”
When asked if he knew the Dolphins were tampering with Brady in 2019, Belichick said, “I’m focused on training camp here. All of that is a thing of the past.
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If we look back in time, however, it starts to make more sense why Brady seemed “off” that summer. In fact, several events that transpired later put the quarterback in the spotlight, and it’s now clear that he had one foot on the doorstep of Gillette Stadium in his final season at Foxboro.
Things started to get weird in August – when the Dolphins tampering started.
On August 4, 2019, Brady signed a new extension with the Patriots that was unlike anything we had seen before in New England. This new deal was automatically canceled at the end of the 2019 season and resulted in the Patriots not being able to place the franchise tag on the quarterback.
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Two days later, on August 6, Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, put their Massachusetts mansion up for sale. It wasn’t long before Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, also put his house up for sale. That Brady put his house up for sale two days after signing that new deal should have told us something was wrong.
During the 2019 season, Brady was rarely seen in the locker room when the media was present. It was not usual for him. In fact, when he spoke, he expressed frustration with roster changes, such as when the team briefly released Ben Watson, and he offered non-comment on younger receivers such as N’Keal. Harry and Jacobi Meyers. Brady seemed restless when the team also released veterans Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon that season.
On Nov. 17, things were tense around the quarterback. After the Patriots’ 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Brady was angry at the podium and delivered terse responses to reporters’ questions. He answered nine questions in just under a minute and 50 seconds.
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On December 10, Brady stepped down as co-chair of the Best Buddies Challenge. The quarterback was affiliated with the organization, which benefits people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In January 2020, after the Patriots’ 20-13 loss to Tennessee in the playoffs, Brady and his family did not stay in Massachusetts. A source told the Providence Journal at the time that the Bradys pulled their kids out of school in Massachusetts and briefly left for their residency in New York.
This all led to free agency and Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the Dolphins. The odd happenings throughout the 2019 season hinted at Brady’s exit. NFL news this week shed some light on why the Patriots legend looked like he wanted to leave then. By then, Brady was clearly done with the Patriots.
Does that put a stain on what the quarterback accomplished in New England? Absolutely not.
It might make a reunion with Belichick or Kraft more awkward, but the championship rings solve most of the problems. Thanks to Brady, the Patriots have plenty. This will never change.