Why did Tom Brady leave the Patriots?

Brady will test the free agent market for the first time in his NFL career

While details are still emerging about Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots to sign with another NFL franchise, money played a key role in the move, according to a report on Tuesday.

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Brady, 42, turned down a contract offer from the Patriots prior to his decision, the Boston Globe reported, citing a league source with knowledge of the matter. While the terms of the offer are unknown, Brady reportedly “didn’t like” its terms.

TOM BRADY FREE AGENCY OPTIONS LED BY 2 NFL TEAMS

"They gave Tom a number. He didn't want it,” the league source told the Boston Globe.

As a result, Brady will test the free agent market for the first time in his NFL career. The Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considered frontrunners to sign Brady and have already extended contract offers during the 48-hour negotiating period prior to free agency, which begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Brady and Patriots representatives did not engage in substantive contract negotiations prior to his exit. The two sides never came close to reaching terms, ESPN reported earlier this week.

NFL LEGAL TAMPERING WINDOW, EXPLAINED

In the weeks prior to Brady’s departure, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he hoped he would either re-sign with the Patriots or retire rather than continue his NFL career with another franchise. Shortly after Brady’s announcement, Kraft said he would have been willing to work out a deal.

“If he wanted to be here, we would have put a deal together,’’ Kraft told the Boston Globe. “That’s what I thought was happening last night.’’

Brady earned $23 million for the 2019 season, a total that ranked far below market value for a top NFL quarterback. The six-time Super Bowl champion routinely played under below-market contracts during his time in New England.

Brady has earned more than $235 million in salary during his career.

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In a lengthy social media post, Brady thanked Patriots executives, teammates and fans for his experience in New England. The post did not include any direct explanation of his decision to sign elsewhere.

“I don’t know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career,” Brady wrote.

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