It’s best for Brady, and Patriots, to turn the page

Alan Greenwood

Hours before that resounding thud echoed from Gillette Stadium, a barroom debate over the Patriots’ future rumbled to a boil.

One man’s humble, if unwavering opinion, drew hisses.

“The best thing for both the Patriots and for Tom Brady would be for them to part ways. The Patriots need to begin their next chapter. Brady needs to get on with his life.”

In response: “So, you’re saying Brady is all done? You don’t think he has one more run left? You think the Patriots should move on to Jarrett Stidham and win three games next season?”

From another corner: “Oh, I know … Brady’s too old, he’s washed up … We haven’t heard that one before, right? Like last season, when I think he won another Super Bowl.”

Well, this point has more to do with the team than the GOAT.

As it stands, the Patriots have enough talent to remain more than respectable. After this unprecedented run of glorious times, going 9-7 next season is hardly cause to declare it a disaster area.

And it is hardly insulting to Brady’s legacy to suggest that after six Super Bowls and too many clutch performances to recount here, the man really has nothing left to prove.

Late Saturday night, after Logan Ryan gobbled up Brady’s final pass of the Pats’ dismal loss to the Titans and danced it into the end zone, there was no smug retort from the man who thinks it is time to turn the page.

Actually, he offered a groan.

For one thing, he was mightily annoyed that another pass deflected off another receiver’s paws and finished off an embarrassing playoff loss.

He also was subdued because Brady may stubbornly refuse to let his career end on a pick-six, capping a playoff stinker.

His best decision for himself, his well being and his family’s security, would be to call it a day. Over time, the memory of that final pass will not put so much as a door ding on his legacy, except in the tiny minds of those who are inclined to revel in his handful of painful moments.

If Brady plays on, his best decision for the Patriots would be to take the best free agent offer he can find, which should not come with Foxborough in the return address.

If Bob Kraft ponies up $30 million for Brady, the chances of his retaining the services of high-caliber free agents like – like half his team’s defense – are diminished. There will be salary cap implications, which are best explained by someone who was willed a pocket protector and a love for number crunching.

Finding the pieces the Pats need to surround whoever serves as QB will not be easy without some financial breathing room.

Expecting Brady to shoulder another discount for the good of the team is not reasonable – even for a man who has enough money to let a half-dozen generations live comfortably.

TIME TRAVEL: Jan. 6, 1960 – “A second-half surge which netted 32 points gave Nashua High’s basketball forces a 60-45 triumph over Keene High, their second win of the young campaign.

“Jerry Fuller, the Purple’s southpaw forward, and Bob Milliard paced the Nashua attack as Fuller pumped 20 points through the nets and Milliard collected 14. Tom Gondek and Frank Ulcickas had eight apiece while Kenny Kane contributed six to the cause.”

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_ Alan.