Like Tom Brady, Patriots fans’ focus should only be on the present

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks to the media during the New England Patriots Super Bowl LIII media availability at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on January 29, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks to the media during the New England Patriots Super Bowl LIII media availability at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on January 29, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

While rumors continue to swirl about his playing future with the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady insisted that fans “shouldn’t read into anything.”

When news broke a week ago that the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady had agreed on a contract extension, the initial prevailing attitude coming out of Foxborough seemed to be one of relief. Across nearly two decades of his NFL career, Brady had never begun a regular season in the final year of a deal – and at first glance, that streak looked poised to continue with a two-year addendum that would keep him a Patriot through the 2021 season.

Alas, the finer details of the new contract language slowly began to leak out to the public and become a matter of common knowledge; and with its discovery came the unwelcome return of all the hand-wringing and nervous apprehension that had filled Patriots Nation for most of the offseason.

The main problem with the new contract is that it contains ‘void years’ after the 2019 season plays out. In other words, while the framework is still in place to keep Brady around beyond just the immediate present, the deal is designed to allow both parties (both Brady and the team) to renegotiate after every season and rework the contract as they see fit.

Brady used the words “uncharted territory” to discuss the unusual and relatively unprecedented nature of his new pact with New England, acknowledging that at this point in his remarkable career, he’s blazing his own trail forward. There’s no clear blueprint for how an NFL franchise should manage a 42-year-old quarterback who wants to keep playing another two or three years.

Perhaps it’s time for fans of this team to re-think their perspective on their beloved quarterback and his relationship to the Pats.

Many nervous New Englanders are scrambling to understand what’s happening between Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Krafts, and their concerns are only growing more pronounced as TV talking heads and media analysts drum up hysteria over stories like this one: in which Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen, are selling their Massachusetts mansion, per ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.

It’s understandable to read a story about Brady putting his local home up for sale and experience an emotional knee-jerk reaction: ‘if he’s selling his house in Massachusetts, does that mean he doesn’t plan on playing for the Patriots in the near-future?’

Brady himself decided to address the speculation and rumors head-on, commenting on the story during his appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

“You shouldn’t read into anything. I think it takes a long time to sell a house. My house is a little bit of an expensive one, so it doesn’t fly off the shelf in a couple weeks,” Brady explained. His mansion is listed at $39.5 million, so he’s also being just a tad modest when he describes it as “a little bit of an expensive one.”

"“I think I’m at a point in my life where there’s a lot of considerations that go into playing. I have a very busy professional life; I have a very busy personal life. Any decision that’s made has to consider everything. I’m certainly at a place where I’ve been in the same place for a long time, and I love playing for the Patriots. I have such a great relationship with Mr. [Robert] Kraft, Coach [Bill] Belichick and our team. We’ll just worry about that when that happens. This isn’t the time to worry about it.”"

Anyone who has followed Brady, Belichick, or the Patriots at all since the turn of the millennium knows to expect this kind of reaction regarding a ‘juicy story.’ Brady and Belichick have mastered the art of saying nothing even while saying a lot during their interviews with the press, and it’s almost tedious at this point to hear Brady wax on about his great relationship with the team, its owner, and its head coach.

More telling slightly is his direction to not “read into anything” regarding the sale of his house. Whatever his true reasons are for listing the property, it’s highly unlikely we’re going to get the answers before the season starts – or even at any point between now and next spring.

There’s almost certainly more to this story than he’s letting on, but knowing Brady and knowing the Patriots, the matter may as well be closed indefinitely… or at least until both sides come to the negotiating table this time next year to discuss his future once again.

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Until that time, there’s really no sense in sweating out hypotheticals. Our focus as fans should be akin to Brady’s: solely focused on the 2019 season. Whatever happens afterwards will happen afterwards, and we can collectively cross that bridge when we need to… and not before.