FOXBOROUGH, MA – For the first time in three years, the Patriots won't enter the offseason following a Super Bowl appearance.
Now the franchise that has hoisted six Lombardi trophies faces questions it has rarely had to address during its run of success over the past two decades.
Tom Brady's future in New England is the biggest unknown. The 42-year-old quarterback says it's unlikely he will retire, but also acknowledged following Saturday's 20-13 wild-card loss to Tennessee that nothing is certain regarding where he could suit up next season.
“I love the Patriots. I mean, they obviously — this is the greatest organization. Playing for Mr. (Robert) Kraft all these years and for coach (Bill) Belichick, there’s nobody that’s had a better career, I would say, than me," Brady said. "I don’t know what the future looks like and I’m not going to predict it.”
Belichick said there was no timeline on making a decision on Brady, but conceded the six-time Super Bowl champions' situation is unique.
“Everybody's situation is different," Belichick said. "Certainly, Tom is an iconic figure in this organization. And nobody respects Tom more than I do.”
Meanwhile, the futures of several players that made up the core of the Patriots' most recent run of Super Bowl also are up in the air.
The list includes safety Devin McCourty special teams captain Matt Slater, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and offensive lineman Joe Thuney. Multiple teams are also expected to take another run at luring away offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.