One report suggests that Tom Brady wasn't interested in returning to Patriots, as evidenced by the QB not allowing the team to make a matching offer in free agency. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots were reportedly willing to match the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offer to Tom Brady, but apparently the four-time Super Bowl MVP never gave them a chance.

Brady officially signed his contract with the Bucs on Friday, and the deal is reported to be worth $50 million guaranteed over two years. It also includes an additional $9 million in incentives, a no-trade clause and a guarantee that the team won’t franchise tag Brady when the deal expires. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots would have matched the contract. Brady never gave them a chance.

What exactly does that mean? It’s hard to say. On the surface, it looks like Brady never gave the Patriots a chance to match the offer because he had no interest in returning. However, keep in mind there was a report earlier in the week that the Pats did not make a tangible effort to bring Brady back.

We may never know if Brady actually wanted to return or if Bill Belichick genuinely wanted him back. Robert Kraft has certainly made it sound like he would have done what he could to keep Brady, and the Patriots owner even seemed to hint that issues between Belichick and Brady preceded the divorce.

Reports early on made it seem like the Patriots were willing to spend big to keep Brady, so perhaps they did not communicate that to Brady early enough. It’s possible Belichick tried to slow-play the negotiations and Brady felt he deserved better and decided he wanted a fresh start. Or, maybe he wanted a fresh start all along. The answer likely lies somewhere in between.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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