- Tom Brady nearly left the Patriots training camp in 2019 over his contract, according to a new book.
- Brady wanted a two-year contract to take him to 45, but Bill Belichick refused.
- He played out the season with the Patriots, then left to join the Bucs.
Tom Brady nearly snapped when the New England Patriots refused to commit to him long term in 2019, a new book says.
According to Seth Wickersham’s book about the Patriots dynasty, “It’s Better To Be Feared,” Brady “considered walking out of training camp” when the team wouldn’t give him a long-term contract.
Brady, who was 42 at the time, wanted a two-year deal to secure his future in New England until he turned 45. He had been playing on year-to-year deals that gave the team flexibility to build the roster around him but kept them from making a long-term investment in a quarterback who was already playing at an age few thought was possible.
According to Wickersham, Bill Belichick refused to bend on the contract. While the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, was OK with it, he also declined to get involved and override Belichick, the book says.
Brady, of course, did not leave training camp, but according to Wickersham, it affected Brady’s mindset for the season.
There had been indications of mounting tension, and Brady’s displeasure with the “Patriot Way” had been made clear. The previous year, he skipped voluntary organized team activities for the first time in years. He still worked out — it was just down the street from the practices at his TB12 training center.
There were signs that Brady’s time with the Patriots was coming to an end throughout the 2019 season. He had put his Brookline, Massachusetts, home up for sale, and his trainer and business partner, Alex Guerrero, also listed his home.
Brady’s contract also allowed him to hit free agency for the first time.
Despite a strong individual and team season — the Patriots went 12-4 — Brady wasn’t enjoying it as much as usual, the book says. According to Wickersham, in December, Brady asked a friend, “Why am I doing this?”
Brady’s time in New England didn’t last long after that. The Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card game in Foxborough, with Brady throwing the game-ending interception.
Months later, he signed a two-year $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led them to the Super Bowl.