New England Patriots

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots reacts during the Super Bowl Victory Parade. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots reacts during the Super Bowl Victory Parade. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

According to a new report by NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran from the NFL league meeting in Phoenix, there’s “nothing coming down the pike” with a contract extension for quarterback Tom Brady.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Brady and the Patriots have permanently pushed away from the table. But beginning a season with Brady in the final year of his contract would be an unprecedented move for Bill Belichick and the Krafts.

It’s also an immediate concern for the Patriots’ salary cap situation. Rob Gronkowski’s retirement helped in that department, raising their space to about $17.5 million. But Brady’s cap hit is currently $27 million, a tough number to circumnavigate for any organization. It’s the fourth-highest cap hit in the NFL and higher than that of Aaron Rodgers ($26.5 million) and Russell Wilson ($25.2 million). An extension would be an easy way to pay Brady while reducing that cap hit.

If Brady indeed heads into the 2019 season without an extension, it’s possible he does it with a new backup quarterback in tow. Or at least a new third-stringer, a spot currently occupied by 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling. If the Patriots get to the first night of the 2019 NFL Draft with Brady in a contract year, speculation will only intensity about them possibly drafting another QB.

They recently met with West Virginia’s Will Grier and scouted him at his recent Pro Day. He seems like a solid fit for the Pats. But still, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’d be ready to take over for Brady after one season as his understudy – or that Brady plans on going anywhere after 2019 at all. Brady has been consistent in saying he wants to play until he’s 45 and only wants to do it in New England.

Curran’s report is certainly an eyebrow-raiser. Curious for now, and increasingly concerning as the offseason goes along without a Brady extension. The Patriots’ potential plans for beyond 2019 could come more into focus after the draft.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.