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Patriots willing to pay Tom Brady $30M per year to keep QB

While his former protégé is set to play in today's Super Bowl, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took center stage this week for a brief moment with a cryptic tweet.

Brady posted a photo showing the signal-caller either walking into or out of a stadium, sparking intrigue across social media.

Sources say the famous tweet actually previews a Super Bowl commercial that features Brady. Either way, Brady's offseason will be fascinating as he claims the spotlight.

But there are several factors at play.

The Patriots are intent on keeping Brady, obviously, believing he has one or two good years left. They are willing, sources say, to pay him in excess of $30 million per year to keep him in New England -- a significant commitment that would bring his salary more in line with other elite QBs.

That would help, but it may not be all. If Brady is going to return, he wants to see the team spend on some weapons -- which they attempted to do last offseason by signing Antonio Brown, only to have it fail. It would be unlike Bill Belichick to "go for it" but that may close the deal.

Technically, Brady is not allowed to sign a new deal with New England until free agency begins next month, but it is likely he will wait until then to even come close to an agreement.

Brady will have options. Sources say the Los Angeles Chargers are expected to be among the teams who will make a pitch to Brady. They do have what he'd require, which is a talented team that could win now. The Tennessee Titans also fit that bill, though they'd have to make a decision on whether to franchise tag Ryan Tannehill before free agency commences.

Another potential factor for Brady is his TB12 workout facility. Brady wants to continue the routine that has kept him upright and agile throughout the years, and a new team being willing to incorporate TB12 into their footprint would help. The Chargers -- who will share a stadium with the Rams -- would have that capability.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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