INDIANAPOLIS – Don Yee was surrounded by reporters on Thursday morning at the Indiana Convention Center, but Tom Brady’s agent didn’t have much to say.
Yee declined to reveal whether he had any meetings set up with the Patriots or any other team at the NFL Combine to talk about Brady’s impending free agency. According to multiple reports on Thursday, Brady’s side has yet to hear from the Patriots at all.
But there’s a reason for the lack of communication, and it’s not necessarily that the Patriots have decided they don’t want Brady back as their quarterback.
A Patriots source said earlier this week that Bill Belichick doesn’t believe it makes much sense in talking to Brady about a potential deal until the situation with the collective bargaining agreement is resolved.
Yee, speaking generally, also referenced the CBA as something that’s slowing typical offseason progress.
The owners and NFL Players Association are close to agreeing to a new 10-year CBA, with a vote amongst all NFL players the last step to ratification.
That vote is expected to happen in the next week or two, leaving teams and players in a holding pattern for now.
A new CBA promises to bring several changes to the league’s salary cap and accounting systems, making it difficult for Belichick to project a contract offer.
Until the owners and NFLPA determine whether the 2020 season will be played under the old or new CBA, the Patriots and Brady will have to wait it out.
And they are not the only ones. Several agents this week said that most teams haven’t made much progress in free agency because no one knows the rules yet.
The Patriots and Brady still have three weeks to figure out if they will move forward together. Brady is set to become a free agent on March 17 at 4 p.m.
Lines are open
According to a league source, the lines of communication between longtime captain and pending free agent Devin McCourty and the Patriots remain open. McCourty has played his entire 10-year career in New England and continues to play safety at a high level. He had 58 tackles and 5 interceptions in 2019.
The Patriots also remain in contact with linebacker Jamie Collins, per a league source. Collins enjoyed an outstanding season in his return to New England in 2019, collecting 81 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 interceptions.
Two free agent linemen should have strong markets. Left guard Joe Thuney is expected to re-set the guard market and could command $14 million-$15 million annually.
Center Ted Karras will benefit from the relative scarcity of free agents at his position after his first full year as a starter. He’s one of several Patriots free agents who are unsurprisingly drawing interest from the Dolphins, Lions and Giants with plenty of New England connections on their coaching staffs.
Odds and ends
Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham has been working out in California with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. Stidham had a strong rookie camp and was lauded by teammates for his work in running the scout team week after week. His continued development is something to monitor as the Brady watch continues . . . Brandon King, who suffered a torn quadriceps in the preseason and missed the 2019 season, is rehabbing well and is expected to be ready to go for spring work, according to a league source . . . Josh McDaniels had a conversation with Texans coach Bill O’Brien and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby during prospect workouts Thursday.