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When did the Patriots know Tom Brady was leaving in free agency?

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shocked the football world last month when he announced he was signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show Wednesday morning to discuss a variety of different topics, including when he had made the decision to leave New England after two decades. Shockingly, the six-time Super Bowl champion noted that he knew ahead of the 2019 season.

Looking at it from a Patriots perspective, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media noted that Bill Belichick and Co. were still holding out hope that Brady was going to re-sign in New England up until his meeting with owner Robert Kraft in March.

Kraft and Brady talked one day before he ultimately decided to sign with Tampa Bay. It’s rather clear that there was a disconnect between the two sides in the lead up to free agency. Once something did not get done on that end ahead of the start new league year, Brady was as good as gone.

Remember, New England was going to take an eight-figure dead cap hit regardless of whether Brady re-signed or moved on once free agency itself opened. Despite this, the team will still holding out hope that he’d return.

We’re going to hear a lot more about this relationship and what seems to have been an ugly divorce as the months drag on. That’s for sure.