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Speculation on a Tom Brady-Patriots reunion has begun

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BOSTON -- The 2022 New England Patriots are 6-5 on the season, but they rank 21st in total offense. Tom Brady ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards, but his Buccaneers are just 5-6.

The Patriots need better offense. Brady needs better coaching. All of this is apparent to anyone paying attention to the NFL this year.

So, it was an inevitability, then, that speculation of a Tom Brady-Bill Belichick reunion would make the leap from group text messages to the mainstream. And The Athletic's Jeff Howe was the man to do that on Wednesday.

While Howe did not report that Brady will be signing with the Patriots next season, he did write that such an option should be considered a realistic possibility, in the event that Brady does play next year.

"Brady and Bill Belichick still have an abundance of respect for one another," Howe wrote. "They've made points to say it publicly on multiple occasions since the QB departed for Tampa. They also spent 23 minutes together in the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium following Brady's return in 2021 - an appointment they set up prior to the game. The Patriots are slated to have more than $50 million in cap space in 2023, so they can again address their flaws, this time on the heels of a couple impressive draft classes."

Howe noted that Brady would likely be looking for a better offensive play-caller than Matt Patricia, who's currently running the show for New England. He also laid out the 49ers and Raiders (with Josh McDaniels) as other possibilities.

Still, what was not long ago considered a total impossibility does at least have some sliver of a chance of happening.

Just think: A 46-year-old Tom Brady, after three years away from New England, returns to the place where he spent two decades and won six Super Bowls, reuniting with Bill Belichick for one more run at a championship. It may be fiction at the moment, but there's no denying it would make for one hell of a story.

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