The New England Patriots’ already tumultuous offseason has taken yet another turn.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tom Brady has still not committed to playing in 2018. The report included that people around the Patriots quarterback said they believe he’ll come back, but the news itself is surprising.

Then later, another ESPN report morphed into something else – that the QB wants a new contract.

Rival coaches have high praise for Patriots QB Tom Brady, who has not slowed down as he’s gotten older. “I don’t think you’ll see a drop off,” said Chiefs Coach Andy Reid. Associated Press/Matt Slocum

The Patriots are already dealing with uncertainty with Rob Gronkowski. The star tight end has also not committed to playing in 2018. Both he and Brady didn’t report to Gillette Stadium this week for Phase 1 of the offseason workout program. Gronkowski, however, wouldn’t commit to playing this season immediately after the Super Bowl.

Brady, who turns 41 in August, always seemed likely to return. After the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, the quarterback wouldn’t 100 percent commit to returning, but was more committal than Gronk. He was asked twice if he was returning.

First, Brady said, “You know, I certainly hope so. I certainly hope so. I expect to be back. We’ll see.”

When asked if he was contemplating retirement, Brady responded, “It’s 15 minutes after the game ended. I’d like to process this a little bit. I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”

Brady was fantastic last season, earning the MVP at age 40. In Super Bowl LII, the quarterback had one of the best performances in NFL history. Brady set multiple Super Bowl records – most passing yards (505), games played (eight), most passes in his Super Bowl career (235), passing yards in a career (2,576) and career touchdown passes (18).

Since Brady was clearly still at the top of his game, it was always thought he’d return. Last offseason, Brady reiterated that his goal was to play until he was 45 years old. The quarterback has two years left on his contract and counts as a $22 million salary cap hit this season.

To matters more interesting, as we all know, the Patriots traded away Jimmy Garoppolo last season. The move was a sign that the team was committing to Brady – for at least a few more seasons. In the event that the quarterback has a change of heart, it could be seen as a disaster for the Patriots dynasty.

Currently, Brian Hoyer is the only other quarterback on the Patriots roster.

Whether or not Brady returns, the Patriots will likely look at quarterbacks in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. The Pats hold five picks in the first three rounds, including two in the first and two in the second. The Patriots have already been connected to a dozen quarterbacks in the pre-draft process.

They might need a new one sooner than later.

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