Patriots

NFL Notebook: Tom Brady’s return to the Patriots, other NFL moves could hinge on new CBA agreement

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

The last time the NFL needed a new collective bargaining agreement, Robert Kraft was the hero.

The Patriots' owner, despite his wife, Myra, being bed-ridden with the cancer that would eventually take her life, was instrumental in ending the 135-day lockout and pushing through the new 10-year labor agreement in 2011.

“A special thanks to Myra Kraft, who even in her weakest moment allowed Mr. Kraft to come and fight this out and, without him, this deal does not get done,’’ Colts center Jeff Saturday said at the time.

The circumstances are much different this time around — talks have been much more amicable and productive toward a new CBA 13 months from its expiration — but Kraft and his son, Jonathan, could again be central figures in closing this deal that most are hopeful will result in a new agreement before the new league year — the last under the old CBA.

If the Krafts want to follow through on their stated desire to have Tom Brady finish his career with the Patriots, they virtually need the new CBA to happen by March 18.

Same goes for Drew Brees with the Saints. And several other contract-related circumstances around the league.

Why?