The New England Patriots reportedly made an initial contract offer to veteran quarterback Tom Brady days before he officially turns unrestricted free agent on March 18. Dale Arnold, one of the hosts of WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" radio show, reported what he heard about the recent phone conversation between head coach Bill Belichick and Brady. Per a report by Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports, Arnold revealed that Belichick informed Brady that the Patriots can only do a one-year deal with less value compared to what he earned last season because of the $13.5 million that the quarterback carries into the salary cap.

The 42-year-old Brady earned $23 million last season after he got an additional $8 million after the Patriots signed him to a two-year extension worth $70 million. That extension worth nothing as it contains two voidable years. The Patriots would carry the $13.5 million cap hit next season if Brady leaves while that can be divided into two payments in 2020 and 2021 if he stays.

Brady, Patriots expected to talk again

Tom E. Curran, who described that phone conversation between Brady and Belichick as "wasn't particularly productive", said Brady would not bite his head coach’s initial offer, while Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal reported Friday that the two sides are expected to speak again.

Field Yates of ESPN recently reported that Brady should inform the Patriots what he wants, and not the other way around. The Patriots are being prevented from presenting a solid offer to Brady because of the lack of a new NFL collective bargaining agreement, which could serve as the basis for his new deal. Earlier, it was reported that the Patriots are willing to offer Brady a salary in excess of $30 million per season.

The Patriots have until March 18 to make a deal with Brady before he hits the free-agent market where he could receive far more lucrative offers from other teams, like the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was reported that the Buccaneers are willing to go all in to get Brady as their starting quarterback after failing to find success with turnover-prone Jameis Winston at the helm.

Chargers use franchise tag on potential Patriots target

The Patriots are in need of a tight end and could explore the free-agency market to get one in the coming days. However, one of their targets has been removed from the market as the Chargers used the franchise tag on Hunter Henry, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The Patriots still have a chance to acquire Henry via trade, but it would cost them a first- or second-round pick. Aside from Henry, the Patriots also plan to pursue free-agent tight ends Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, who played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts, respectively, last season.

Also, the Patriots are reportedly interested in trading for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst.

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