New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in several instances, insisted that he wants Tom Brady to remain with the team. In last month’s interview with Peter King of Pro Football Talk, Kraft said he’s “hoping and praying” that Brady stays with the Patriots. In that interview, Kraft said he considers the 42-year-old quarterback as part of his blood family owing to his 20-year stay with the team. However, Kraft said he hopes that Brady would retire if he won’t return to the Patriots. In an ambush interview with TMZ Sports recently, Kraft said the Patriots plan to keep Brady as their starting quarterback.

On Saturday before the NFL Awards, he was asked about Brady’s future with the team, he replied: “You gotta ask him. I sure hope so.” Brady will turn unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after a 20-year stint with the Patriots. However, a return to New England is uncertain as Brady plans to keep an open mind about the free agency process, with the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and the Tennessee Titans reportedly interested in his services.

Kraft won’t lift a finger to keep Brady

However, Tom E.Curran of NBC Sports Boston said Kraft won’t lift a finger in deciding on whether to keep Brady or not. According to Curran, Kraft said he would let head coach Bill Belichick determine on whether if the Patriots will continue with Brady as starter or move on to another quarterback. Curran said fans should not expect that Kraft would “swoop down from the rafters and overrule Belichick" if the head coach decides it’s time to move on from the veteran quarterback.

“He (Kraft) won’t intercede if Belichick concludes moving on from Brady is the best course of action,” said Curran. The Patriots insider also debunked rumors that Kraft forced Belichick to trade then backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers because Brady wants to play until he’s 45 years old. “That didn’t happen and nothing’s really been done to correct the record,” said Curran.

As a back-up plan, the Patriots intend to trade for a veteran quarterback to replace Brady, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Media.

Patriots to open checkbook for Brady

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media earlier reported that the Patriots plan to open their checkbook and offer Brady a contract in excess of $30 million per year, putting him among the top quarterbacks in terms of salary. Also, Rapoport added that the Chargers and the Titans plan to pursue Brady if he enters the free-agent market. In a separate report, Mike Giardi of NFL Media said Brady is not asking for a $30 million a year payday from the Patriots, but wants the team to upgrade its offense by adding more weapons next season.

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