Sounds like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had a pretty awkward phone conversation

Those who know Bill Belichick best say the Patriots coach has two sides: the strictly business football czar who answers media questions with one-word answers, and the lighter guy with a sense of humor and a more laid-back disposition.

So it might be telling that Brady, who knows Belichick as well as anybody after their 20 years together in New England, received Strictly Business Bill during a recent phone coversation, reportedly their first regarding the quarterback’s upcoming free agency.

A source told NBC Sports Boston that the chat between Brady and Belichick “wasn’t particularly productive,” and that the coach “was all business.” The Boston Herald added that the conversation “didn’t go well.”

Belichick, of course, acts as New England’s general manager and personnel decision-maker on top of his coaching duties, so one might consider his interest in chatting with Brady about the QB’s future a sign that Belichick is in line with team owner Robert Kraft’s desire to re-sign the 42-year-old passer.

Then again, Belichick might simply need an answer from Brady more than he needs the QB himself.

If Brady is not on the Patriots’ roster on March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, when 2020 free agency begins, the team will be hit with a $13.5 million dead cap charge (signing bonus acceleration), a number that will be cut in half if he re-signs. It should go without saying that New England’s entire approach to 2020 and beyond depends on whether Brady will be part of the process.

Because Brady technically is still under contract, New England is the only team he legally can speak with before the legal tampering period (March 16-18) begins for soon-to-be free agents.

The Herald’s source also claimed the market for Brady in free agency is “very good,” as if there was any doubt the individual(s) leaking information about the phone conversation were from Brady’s camp — which makes this seem like a leverage play.

But just a couple days ago, NBC Sports Boston reported Belichick “is not freezing Brady out,” and that the Patriots indeed want their longtime QB to re-sign.

Will that happen, or will Brady enter the final years of his career with a new challenge on a team not named the Patriots? Maybe it depends on just how awkward that phone conversation was.

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