Brady has informed individuals close to him that he's operating under the belief he will enter free agency to play with another team next season, sources told ESPN's Jeff Darlington.
Brady is currently scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his NFL career. The Patriots have yet to reach out to the legendary signal-caller and his representatives, and the chances of the two parties reaching a deal are "not looking good," a source told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
However, one explanation for why Brady and New England haven't engaged in contract talks is the uncertainty regarding a new collective bargaining agreement, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Darlington said during a Thursday appearance on "Get Up" that he'd be "stunned" if Brady returns to New England, adding it's "far more likely than not" that the quarterback leaves.
Vic Tafur of The Athletic also reported Thursday there is "strong buzz" around the ongoing NFL Scouting Combine that Brady will land with a new team and be the first quarterback of a stacked free-agent class to sign a deal.
Brady's agent, Don Yee, is in attendance at the combine but declined to address the latest rumors, according to Guregian.
It was reported in early February that New England is willing to pay Brady over $30 million per season, a figure that could make the veteran one of the league's top five or six highest-paid quarterbacks.