In the years since Tom Brady unexpectedly left the Patriots four years ago, a lot has been debated regarding the actions or lack thereof, that led to his decision. Most fingers have pointed to Bill Belichick, primarily due to his lack of interest in paying the quarterback his market value, on top of his alleged desire to move on from Brady years before.
Much of the details have essentially been confirmed through Robert Kraft's decisions and public comments, which Tom Brady Sr. emphasized in recent weeks.
But now that Belichick is on the outside looking in, since he wasn't able to secure a job for the 2024 season, meaning this will be the first NFL season in 24 years that neither he nor Brady are in the league, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has revealed a new detail.
During his appearances on radio row leading up to the Super Bowl last week, the analyst appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger and Mazz" to discuss the Patriots. In that conversation, Smith revealed he had been told if Belichick had said to Brady and even Kraft that he wanted the quarterback to remain with the team, we would never have seen him leave for Tampa Bay.
Now, Smith isn't exactly a Patriots insider, so this doesn't mean we should trust him entirely at his word. But at the same time, the idea that Belichick could have saved himself and New England from a lot of trouble had he just assured Brady he still believed in him and wanted him to stay isn't new.
This has been a speculated detail for a long time, especially since the head coach was rumored to have wanted to trade Brady as far back as 2017.
The part that is a bit more confusing is Kraft's inability to smooth things over enough to keep Brady in the building for at least another season. Perhaps there's a lot more to the story than we know, which we may find out about years down the road. But if all it took was Belichick's assuredness, it's hard to imagine that couldn't be accomplished.
That seems to reveal more about the state of Belichick and Brady's relationship than anything, giving more credibility to the plethora of rumors regarding the tension buildup and deterioration of the longtime duo.