Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported on Fox NFL Sunday that Brady, whose contract doesn't allow the Pats to use the franchise tag to keep him for another year, won't sign another team-friendly deal and could seek more lucrative offers on the open market.
The Patriots' season, and their latest Super Bowl title defense, came to a close Saturday night with a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round. The legendary QB completed just 20 of his 37 throws for 209 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
Most of the discussion afterward wasn't about the team's poor performance, but rather whether the game marked the end of a New England dynasty led by Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
"I love the Patriots. It's the greatest organization," Brady told reporters. "Playing for Mr. [Robert] Kraft all these years, and for coach Belichick, there's nobody who's had a better career, I would say, than me—just being with them. So I'm very blessed. I don't know what the future looks like, so I'm not going to predict it."
Belichick similarly sidestepped questions about what happens next in his Sunday press conference.
"We're less than 12 hours from the end of the game," he said. "I'm sure there are a lot of questions about the future. No one has thought about the future ... Whatever's in the future we'll deal with it at some later point in time."
Brady, who's often provided New England with financial flexibility in his previous deals, and Belichick have teamed up to help lead the Pats to six Super Bowl championships since 2001.
The 42-year-old three-time NFL MVP saw his numbers dip in 2019 within a Patriots offense that lacked a true No. 1 wide receiver on the outside. He posted a 60.8 completion percentage with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 88.0 passer rating was his lowest mark since 2013.
Brady also maintains a close relationship with Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who's a popular head coaching candidate heading into the offseason. That could create some intrigue if McDaniels accepts an offer from a team that doesn't feature a franchise quarterback.
Although it's hard to imagine the 14-time Pro Bowl selection in a different jersey, it sounds like New England will need to make a competitive, fair-market proposal to keep him for 2020 and beyond.