FOXBORO MA. – SEPTEMBER 8: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick makes a point on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the season opener at Gillette Stadium on September 8, 2019 in Foxboro, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

It has been nearly one month since Tom Brady announced he would not return as quarterback of the New England Patriots in 2020. Shortly thereafter, arguably the most decorated QB of all time signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The common reaction to these events was a mixture of surprise and criticism. There were questions aplenty. 

Why would the Patriots not try harder to retain Brady? What is the team’s plan at QB for the 2020 season? Are the Patriots tanking? 

There are simple answers to each of these questions. The Patriots are not tanking; they should not have tried harder to retain Tom; and even the biggest shot-callers in that organization likely have no idea what the team’s plan at QB is for the 2020 season – and that’s okay. 

New England finished the 2019 season in disappointing fashion. The proud dynasty was eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Tennessee Titans. While the team’s defense was historically good, the offense was exactly the opposite. Not only did Brady look like he had taken a significant step back, but the weapons around him also seemed inefficient.

In New England’s early Super Bowl runs, Bill Belichick’s defense was often strong enough to cover up for offensive mishaps. The Patriots’ 2019 playoff performance highlighted concerns that permeated throughout the regular season. Brady missed throws. Patriots receivers dropped passes. Offensive linemen were fooled by defensive disguises. Running backs could not establish a respectable run game. In short, nothing was working. 

It is understandable that Brady would take the bulk of the heat for the Patriots’ offensive performance. It is not justifiable, however, to suggest that the quarterback has nothing left in the tank because of a down year. Yes, he is 43 years old. Sure, his deep ball looked like it was missing some umph. Yes, there are legitimate concerns. In spite of this, Robert Kraft did not part ways with his favorite player because of the concerns; he did so because it was the correct football move for his franchise at this time. 

The Patriots are never going to enter a ‘rebuilding’ phase. Building a team designed to lose is not an ideal that Belichick would ever adopt. Losing Tom Brady does not mean that New England is tanking next year. This also has very little to do with money. Had New England and Brady wanted to work something out, it would have happened.   

 

It is conceivable that Belichick has no idea who his QB will be when the 2020 season opens. While this uncertainty would cripple many teams, the Patriots are an exception. No one player can make or break this franchise. Bill Belichick is big on winning every day and chaining together successful days; he has done it for nearly twenty years in New England. 

Tom Brady will not be under center for the Patriots in September. Just like the team did after Tom went down with an ACL injury at the beginning of the 2008 season, they will continue playing – and they will do so successfully. If anyone understands that football is the ultimate team game, it is Belichick. A legend may have moved on, but another legend continues at the helm of a dynasty. All will be well in Foxborough.