Ever since Tom Brady agreed to sign a reworked contract that would essentially make him a free agent at the start of the 2020 league year, speculation has been around whether or not 2019 would be his last season with the New England Patriots. So far there are no signs pointing in either direction but the simple fact that he is scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his NFL career on March 18 makes this an intriguing situation.
All year long, therefore, people have tried to find meaning in every soundbite or decision or news report covering the 42-year-old quarterback. Such was also the case in late October, when ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter talked on a pre-game show about how Brady and his personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, putting their houses on the market could be seen as an indication that both plan to move on from the Patriots sooner rather than later.
Back then, we used SB Nation’s FanPulse survey to get an impression how fans felt about the story and whether or not those recent developments were any cause for concern regarding Brady’s future in New England. The numbers spoke for themselves: 84% thought that the future Hall of Famer would still be playing for the Patriots in 2019, clearly more than those who picked either “Retired” (15%) or “Playing for another team” (1%) as their answers.
Fast forward to this week. With New England’s season coming to an end on wild card weekend thanks to a 20-13 loss that saw the team’s offense underperform yet again, speculation about Brady’s future has been renewed — unsurprisingly, considering that free agency is just a little more than two months away. However, fans still feel confident that the six-time world champion will eventually return to the Patriots when it is all said and done.
Participants of the latest FanPulse survey were asked once again what they think the greatest quarterback of all time would do in 2020, and the answer looks a lot like it did two months ago: 76% picked a return to New England as their answer to the question, compared to 24% who think that he will not wear a Patriots uniform next year (17% think he will play for another team, 7% believe that Brady will call it a career after all).
While the numbers are not indicative of any outcome one way or the other — Brady’s camp and the Patriots will decide what happens — they do reflect the belief that a return to New England, even though a slight shift has taken place over the last two months, is still the most likely outcome.
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