New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he doesn't regret letting longtime quarterback Tom Brady go in free agency last offseason, despite the Pats' struggles coinciding with Brady's first Super Bowl championship away from the franchise.
Brady spent his first 20 seasons in New England before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020 and eventually winning his seventh Super Bowl in February.
“Well, after 20 years … with any player, I’ll make this commitment to any player in the future: Anyone who spends 20 years with us and helps us win six Super Bowls, we’re not gonna keep — look, we could’ve, contract-wise, kept him in our camp. But it’s just not the right thing,” Kraft said Wednesday when speaking to New England reporters. “Naturally, we want to win. But who knows what would’ve happened if he stayed here? Look what happened at the end of his last season here.”
Last month, Kraft provided a bittersweet response to Tom Brady's latest Super Bowl victory.
“Well, I was really happy for him,” Kraft told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer during an edition of his 'Monday Morning Quarterback' column. “He’s a great guy and he gave us 20 wonderful years, and he made the choice to do what he wanted to do. Look, I wasn’t that happy to see him leave, but we gave him that opportunity to do it. And I want to say if we’re not going to win, and someone’s got to do it, I’m happy for him. He deserves it.”
The 43-year-old quarterback led Tampa Bay to its second Super Bowl in franchise history, while the Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, a season in which Brady missed 15 games due to ACL and MCL tears.
New England responded with an aggressive start to its offseason, spending a total of $162.5 million in guaranteed money on free agents, including several who were on their roster last season, during the first week of free agency. For context, Kraft purchased the team for $172 million in 1994.
"In my 27 years as owner, I've never had to come up with so much capital before," Kraft told Sports Illustrated.
Earlier this month, Brady agreed to a new four-year contract, which voids to a one-year extension, guaranteeing his services with the Buccaneers through at least the 2022 season, sources confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Brady recorded 201 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing in Super Bowl LV, winning a record fifth Super Bowl MVP Award, which surpassed his own previous record set in Super Bowl LI (2017.)
The victory was Brady's first as a member of the Buccaneers after joining the franchise in March following 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
Brady now owns a 7-3 record all-time in the NFL's biggest game and surpassed his own previous record for most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback (6) set in February 2019. The 43-year-old also broke his own record as the oldest quarterback to both start and win a Super Bowl also set in 2019.