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It’s crickets when it comes to the Patriots and Tom Brady coming to terms on a new contract, according to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston.

The reason why this is significant is simply for the fact that Brady has never in his career entered a season as a lame duck, one year left on his deal. Not only that, but the quarterback’s $27 million cap hit is something the Patriots would seemingly want to reduce as it’s never been that high in Brady career either. While one would think it’d be wise to clear up that space and lock in their generational quarterback for his remaining years, that simply hasn’t happened at this point.

At the Super Bowl, the Kraft were asked about this very topic and noted that they would work to get it done. “We’re still in the season before, so he’s not in the final year of his deal,” Jonathan Kraft said on NBC Sports Boston’s Boston Sports Tonight on the Tuesday before their win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. “That’s really the answer to that, and let’s see what happens when training camp starts.”

Added Robert Kraft: “I think we’ve done an OK job keeping things together. We’re blessed to have the GOATs at each of their positions, and our intent would be that they keep doing it.”

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Throughout this most recent playoff run, Brady’s remained true to the notion that he wants to continue playing until he’s 45, which is still a few years away for the six-time Super Bowl champion. In an sit-down interview with ESPN’s Jeff Darlington before Super Bowl week, Brady said, “I have set a goal for myself at 45 and like I said before, it is very hard to make it that far. I know how hard it was this year and the commitment it takes. Hopefully I have learned from some of the things that happened this year to be better next year. But, every year is tough.”He added: “I feel like I’ve still made a lot of improvements. I still feel like I can continue to do it at a championship level and I think that was where I was at before and that’s still where I’m at now.”

Given that, Brady really doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down, so a contract should be in order for him to not only lock him up, but give the team as much flexibility as possible to build the team around him. There’s no need to raise too much of a stir about this right now, but the longer it goes without him putting pen to paper on a new deal, the more alarm bells will start ringing. The NFL is breaking tradition a bit as they celebrate their 100th season in 2019. Typically, the reining Super Bowl champion will kickoff the regular season as they drop the banner in their own building. This year there is a little bit of a twist.

Instead of the Patriots hosting that Thursday Night Football opener, the NFL announced on Monday that it will be the Green Bay Packers visiting the Chicago Bears on September 5 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. As for New England, they will be bumped to Sunday Night Football where they will celebrate their Super Bowl LIII title on September 8, drop the banner and begin their title defense. The opponent for that game has yet to be announced.

The full schedule is set to be released in mid-April. As for who the Patriots could play in that game, they do have the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs along with their AFC East rivals on the schedule to roll through Gillette Stadium in 2019.

An AFC Championship rematch with the Chiefs would be a fitting scenario for the Patriots, but the NFL may elect to save that game for later in the season as a primetime game given that both New England and Kansas City are likely going to be duking it out for playoff positioning yet again in 2019. The Steelers and Cowboys will likely create their own buzz later on in the season without the juice of the Sunday Night Football Opener, which may leave the Browns, Giants and the rest of the AFC East.

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Given their loaded offseason headlined by trading for Odell Beckham Jr., the new look Cleveland Browns heading into Foxboro would likely draw huge numbers across the NFL landscape. Eli Manning and the Giants would also have a certain cache to it, but if we were able to catch the year of the schedule makers, the Browns coming into town for Week 1 would be the right play. While there will be plenty of celebration on that night with the debut of the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl banner, this will also be the first game of the post-Rob Gronkowski era. On Sunday the tight end announced his retirement from the league after nine seasons with the Patriots. New England’s roster will likely look a lot different than it does currently and it will be interesting to see how the reining chaps attack the NFL Draft and the trade market to try and replace their all-world pass catching option.

In any event, it should be another banner night in New England.

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