Tom Brady walked off the field at Gillette Stadium for what could be the last time on Saturday after a shocking exit from the playoffs for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots fell to the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round, New England's earliest exit from the playoffs in the last decade and a crushing loss for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations. Brady struggled in the 20-13 loss, throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the waning seconds of the game and struggling throughout the game to hit receivers.
With Brady's contract with the Patriots expiring after the season and the quarterback headed to free agency for the first time in his career, speculation started immediately about whether he has played his final game in New England. As The Inquisitr had reported before the game, both Brady and the Patriots were focused only on the playoffs and there had been no discussions of a new contract since August. A tweet from ESPN's Reiss noted that it was "anyone's guess" whether Brady would return and that the Patriots were in a "wait-and-see" situation.
But as soon as the game ended, the speculation kicked into high gear regarding where Brady could be playing next year. It was clear that Brady still intends to play -- as Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal noted on Twitter, Brady was clear after the game that he has no intention to retire. That would mean if he does return, the Patriots would have to outbid any other teams looking to sign Brady.Brady also made it clear that he is in no hurry to make a decision. He told reporters after the game that there was no need to make a choice right now, and added that he loves the Patriots and has had a great career under head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. Brady saw a dropoff this season as age and injuries started to wear on him. Because he likely has only a few seasons left at most, it would seem to limit his free agency choices to teams that are playoff ready and need only a quarterback to put them over the top. Brady would also likely only want to play for a team with a realistic chance of winning a Super Bowl, and it's not clear that any free agency suitor could be better positioned than the Patriots would be.