Last year, the team did not get clarity on Rob Gronkowski’s status until free agency was well underway, which meant it missed out on the top tight ends who were available after he announced his retirement.

It doesn’t seem like that will happen this year with Tom Brady.

RELATED: Tom Brady ‘Open Minded’ About Playing for Another Team in 2020

Appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up” Thursday, Adam Schefter said the Patriots will want an answer from Brady before free agency begins March 16 with the legal tampering period.

Brady can sign with the Patriots at any time, while he cannot sign with another team until March 18.

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