In the last few months, the writing had been on the wall for star quarterback Tom Brady‘s departure from the New England Patriots. Despite that, there was much hesitation that Brady would seriously venture that route even though he had the opportunity to explore his options in free agency for the first time in his career. All of that came to fruition this week as the 42-year-old informed the Patriots that he wouldn’t be returning the franchise and shortly after decided to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. An intriguing part of all of this was his interactions with head coach Bill Belichick, who had an intriguing response to that development.
Tom Brady leaves the Patriots, joins Bucs
The center of focus around the Patriots heading into this offseason was Brady’s long-term future with the franchise.
For the first time in his career, there was uncertainty around where he would play the following season. Brady rode in that new territory over the last several weeks and concluded that he would leave the only team he has played for in his first 20 years in the league.
The six-time Super Bowl champion didn’t waste much time latching onto a new team as he’s joining the Buccaneers this offseason. It’s a process that moved incredibly fast over the last few days that has seen him depart from the Patriots and find a new home in the NFL with Tampa Bay.
It’s a move that provoked an interesting response from Belichick when he learned of the decision.
Bill Belichick’s reaction to Tom Brady’s departure
Before Brady let the publicly the sports world know that he would be leaving the Patriots, the star quarterback informed the team of his decision.
That included a phone call with his longtime head coach about his choice, which led to Belichick taken a bit by surprise that Brady was departing from the franchise after two decades, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
After Brady phoned the Patriots coach to fill him in on his decision, Belichick “was a little shocked,” according to a source familiar with the proceedings.
Although the telling signs were there that Brady had played his last game with the Patriots, it was still hard to believe that he would leave. The fact that Belichick was even taken aback by the decision shows that even the franchise didn’t think it would transpire.
Brady has great respect for the Patriots, but the team wasn’t providing him with that long-term commitment pushed him away. That was led by Belichick withholding that from the star quarterback, which demonstrated that the team wanted to keep their options open after every season.
There may have been a small element of shock from the Patriots, but it’s a departure in some type of form that was going to come at some point from Brady.
Who will be the Patriots’ next starting quarterback?
The Patriots are now operating at the quarterback position with Brady no longer in the mix.
There has already been a tremendous amount of speculation about what direction the team could head at the position. It has seen chatter range from bringing veteran quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton or Cam Newton.
The likely route that the Patriots take is working with their in-house option with Jarrett Stidham, who is heading into only his second season. New England drafted him in the fourth round of last year’s draft, and he had minimal playing time in his rookie campaign, appearing in three games where he completed 2-of-4 passes for 15 yards with an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Patriots may likely bring another quarterback in to provide further stability at the position. Still, the team will probably roll with Stidham to see what they have in the Auburn product. Time will tell if he can be a viable option under center that can help guide New England to continued success.