Legendary quarterback Joe Montana made it known that he believes the New England Patriots screwed up in failing to retain Tom Brady in free agency.
Joe Montana knows a thing or two about what Tom Brady just went through — as well as what’s still to come for the new quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After spending 20 seasons as the leader and face of the New England Patriots football franchise, Brady was allowed to walk this month in NFL free agency. As absurd and surreal as the reality still is, No. 12 will be suiting up for an NFC South team down in Florida, wearing pewter, red, white, and orange this September — instead of dominating the AFC East from snowy Massachusetts and wearing his customary red, white, blue, and silver.
Per ESPN, Montana chimed in with his thoughts on the shocking turn of events during an interview with USA Today:
"“I don’t know what’s going on inside (New England), but somebody made a mistake … I had a different story, where they had made a decision. He, obviously, they never would have gotten rid of. I still don’t understand how New England let him get away. I don’t understand that.”"
The unspoken implication of blame in Montana’s remarks most likely falls at the feet of Bill Belichick and, to a lesser degree, Robert Kraft.
Kraft made it known that he wouldn’t intervene on Brady’s behalf one way or the other when it came to free agency. As the owner of the team — and thus, the most important and powerful person on the team — he easily could have forced Belichick’s hand on the matter, though.
And while Kraft did express that he wanted Brady back under center in 2020, he knows better than to enforce his wishes on Belichick.
He may or may not have done just that a few years back when the head coach reportedly tried to deal Brady, not Jimmy Garoppolo, to the San Francisco 49ers — but that was also a different time with a different quarterbacks room for the Pats, and Brady was obviously younger, too.
Montana spent 14 seasons with the 49ers before they shipped him to finish the last two years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, replacing him with the younger QB Steve Young. It’s difficult to believe that Belichick and the Patriots think they have the next Young in second-year man Jarrett Stidham, but perhaps Belichick really does believe that Stidham is the future at the position for this franchise.
Montana, evidently, does not. Or even if he does think Stidham has potential, he clearly thinks the Patriots moved on from Brady far too soon.
Only time will tell who’s right.