According to The Athletic's Vic Tafur, the "strong buzz" at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week is that Brady won't be back with the Pats. Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald added that the Patriots have yet to reach out to Brady, and a source told her, "It's not looking good."
ESPN's Jeff Darlington added Brady has shared the sentiment that he could play for another team next season with others.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, NFL reporter Jeff Darlington appeared on Get Up! on Thursday and said he would be "stunned" if Brady goes back to New England.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported one factor at play is Bill Belichick "doesn't see much sense" in discussing Brady's new contract before the collective bargaining agreement negotiations are settled.
The 42-year-old Brady has spent his entire 20-year career with the Patriots, and he is hitting free agency for the first time this offseason.
Neither Brady nor Belichick has said anything definitively about the Patriots' quarterback position next season, but owner Robert Kraft has been more vocal. In January, he told Peter King of NBC Sports that it was his "hope and prayer" for Brady to re-sign with the Patriots or retire if he doesn't.
Brady's comments suggest he has no plans to retire.
Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported earlier this month that Kraft won't intervene if Belichick decides moving on from Brady is the best course of action, so Brady's future in New England could be in the hands of his longtime coach.
Curran also noted the Patriots are willing to "extend" themselves financially to keep the six-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Super Bowl MVP, but he also reported that Brady wants more than money and would like the Pats to commit to putting more around him before re-signing.
After moving on from wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Rob Gronkowski's retirement, the Pats were short on offensive weapons last season. Aside from wideout Julian Edelman and running back James White, there weren't many targets Brady could trust.
That resulted in a down year for Brady and the New England offense, as he finished with 4,057 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Pats still went 12-4 and won the AFC East thanks largely to a dominant defense, but in un-Patriots-like fashion, they lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 to miss out on a first-round bye and fell at home to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round.
Wide receivers Amari Cooper and A.J. Green and tight ends Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry are some of the top offensive skill-position players set to hit free agency this offseason. If the Pats can't sign at least one of them, perhaps Brady will consider other quarterback-needy teams with better or comparable supporting casts, such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers or Indianapolis Colts.