The real suitors in the Tom Brady free-agency sweepstakes emerge

Tom Brady’s NFL future may not be as complicated as it appears to be.

The 42-year-old quarterback, expected to become a free agent this month for the first time in his career, has been linked to a bevy of teams in recent weeks. The Patriots remain among them, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, noting Sunday “this is not a Cold War” between parties.

“There’s been no meeting, but it hasn’t been total radio silence –- texts have been sent. Bill Belichick is not freezing Brady out,” Curran wrote of the current state of affairs after the situation appeared to sour during the NFL Combine last week.

Though those closest to Brady have zero insight on his impending move — including pal and Patriots fanatic Ben Affleck — some rumored suitors, including the Buccaneers and the Raiders, may not be a fit after all.

Last week, Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden called current quarterback Derek Carr a “heck of a player,” adding, “I got a lot of respect for what he has done with some tough circumstances.”

NBC Sports Boston reports Gruden “isn’t planning to give great chase” to Brady, though the Raiders will listen if Brady is interested.

As for Tampa Bay, while coach Bruce Arians already expressed interest in Brady, it appears his “laid-back” philosophy “may be too much of a swing in the opposite direction from ‘No Days Off!’ Belichick,” according to Curran.

The Titans and Chargers have also been linked closely to Brady and may now stand out as the Patriots’ chief competition.

The free-agency frenzy commences March 18.

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