Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have formed an intriguing alliance of civil disobedience against Bill Belichick and his offseason program, sending a clear sign of discontent. Granted that the power dynamics with Brady are different because he is the best player not just in the history of the Patriots franchise but the whole sport, Belichick nonetheless is not one who has traditionally responded favorably at threats of his unconditional leadership. What if he went nuclear?
Today, Adam Schefter reported that Brady has not yet committed to playing this season. Deep down, you just know that Belichick would love to prove that he could win without him. To the extent that there is some doubt about whether he is a better all-time football coach than Vince Lombardi, winning a Super Bowl with a new quarterback would in my opinion (and I’m a Packers fan) eradicate it.
From the far outside, it seems like Brady and Gronk’s discontent stems from Belichick’s treatment of their trainer Alex Guerrero. It’s actually reasonable to see all sides here. Brady thinks Guerrero is responsible for his astounding longevity, while Belichick wants the rest of his team tended to by more traditional trainers. Conflict abounds.
Our site’s Henry McKenna, writing on USA Today’s Patriots Wire, broached the possibility of Belichick blowing the whole thing up, making the point that he’s never hesitated to part ways with stars in the past:
Belichick dealt Drew Bledsoe. He dealt Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Matt Cassel, Randy Moss, Logan Mankins, Jacoby Brissett and Garoppolo. He let Wes Welker and Danny Amendola walk.
As McKenna notes, the scenario of an atomic explosion of the team is not probable, but it is not outside the realm of possibility. What if the Patriots could get the no. 4 overall pick from the Browns for Brady, and used it to pick the quarterback of the future? Perhaps Baker Mayfield?
Gronk’s trade value isn’t nearly as high, but if Brady was sent packing it would make sense at that point for there to be a clean break.
Brady and Belichick were able to put all the friction over Guerrero and the bizarre midseason Jimmy G trade behind them to reach the Super Bowl last season. The Patriots thrive under conditions of chaos, and all other conditions for that matter. But, wouldn’t it be interesting to see Brady and Belichick see if they were able to win without each other?