New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 27: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates head coach Bill Belichick on his 300th win after the game against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Tom Brady has always valued winning championships over everything else in his football career, particularly over getting paid the most money. Shocker: that apparently has not changed.

Mike Reiss posted a new column to ESPN updating all of the pertinent details to the Brady situation, which understandably remains the biggest topic in Boston sports. He noted that Brady and the Patriots still haven’t discussed his contract since the end of the season. But this is normal as most teams put that off until they’re closer to the start of the league year, which this season begins on March 18.

Perhaps the most important detail in Reiss’ story is that he believes Brady still values winning another championship over getting paid at the top of the market, which other teams would be better equipped to do than the Patriots. If Brady becomes a free agent, the Pats absorb a $13.5 million dead cap charge for 2020, regardless of whether Brady re-signs or not. That would make bringing him back much more difficult. But, while referencing a recent comment by Charlie Weis, Reiss seems to agree that Brady still cares the most about getting back to the Super Bowl.

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) run of off the field after warmups before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) run of off the field after warmups before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

But, as Reiss posited, the threat of that cap charge gives Brady good leverage against the team to agree on a new deal before that happens. Working in the Patriots’ favor is that Brady can talk to other teams during the legal tampering period starting on March 16, so he wouldn’t necessarily have to become a free agent and visit teams to know how interested they are. Reiss says that Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft are “expected to push for substantial discussions” before the start of the league year.

If winning is still the most important thing to Brady, then sticking with the familiarity of the Patriots and Belichick could remain his best option. Other teams that are potentially interested, including the Chargers and Raiders, have some good skill players for Brady to work with. But do they have the coaching, structure, and consistency to convince Brady they’re a better choice than the Patriots when it comes to winning another Super Bowl?

Brady’s interest in winning would go hand in hand with recent reports that he wants commitment from the team to surround him with a better offense. That could start by revamping the tight end position with a major move there.

It’s a positive development for the Patriots that Brady may still be malleable in terms of his contract. Because if money really were a significant factor for him, then other teams would certainly be more attractive than New England.

It might be fun for some people to argue that Brady’s sick of not getting paid and wants to cash in. But that would go against pretty much everything that New England has been led to believe about Brady. It’s a promising sign for the Patriots that he still has ring No. 7 at the top of the list.

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.