Just when exactly remains to be seen.
"Tom Brady will not be present today during OTAs and that is expected to continue through the rest of OTAs".
Why is this third phase a big deal?
Although the activities are voluntary, Brady's absence is notable because he has attended them in the past. In fact it is pretty rare for any team's starting Quarterback to miss this portion of the team's offseason program. The truth, of course, is this: not only do players miss OTAs all the time, big-name players can miss without effect.
Monday's news is surprising, but this offseason has been anything but ordinary for Brady and the Patriots. Brady said as much last month during a sponsored appearance in California. When asked about whether he felt appreciated in Foxboro Brady "pleaded the 5th".
Brian Hoyer/Danny Etling - The No. 2/3 quarterbacks will get all the work in OTAs, which is valuable time to improve their craft in a teaching-based setting. This is what's considered phase 3 of the offseason program and Brady has already missed out on phase 1 and 2.
Combined with minicamp, the 13 practices are spread out through four weeks. He'll be fine. He's going to play about two more years and he might not play nice with the Patriots during all the offseason stuff over that stretch. Lewis had been signed to a reserve/future contract that January, and his work with Brady in OTAs - with Brady at one point singling him out during on-field workouts for running a precise route - was a preview of what was to come in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons. No pads or contact are allowed during OTAs but you get full practice type environment where the offense faces the defense in 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills. So instead of newcomers Jordan Mathews, Cordarelle Patterson and others building chemistry with Brady they'll be catching passes from Hoyer and Etling. If this is what makes the organization great then when it doesn't happen it's decidedly not great. And Brady and Gronkowski are talented and dedicated enough that choosing not to participate in these sessions likely won't have a negative impact on their play this season.