Patriots, Tom Brady Continue Relationship Rooted in Loyalty
By: The Football Girl | Posted: February 26, 2013
Everyone from NFL agents to business bloggers are trying to parse through Tom Brady’s new 3-year, $27 million contract extension. Is it a “house contract” or not? How will Brady’s extension affect Joe Flacco’s negotiations? Why does Brady make less than multiple other quarterbacks, most notably Mark Sanchez.
Here’s what we know about Brady’s restructured contract: It includes a $30 million signing bonus, which will be paid out in installments until 2015. To compensate for the signing bonus, Brady's base salary for 2013 and 2014 will drop to $1M and $2M, respectively, (the salary will increase to $7M, $8M, and $9M in 2015, 2016, 2017). Most significantly, the reduced salary saves the Patriots $15 million in cap room over the course of the next two years.
While Brady haters want to chalk up his “generosity” to having a breadwinner wife, the fact is that Tom Brady wants to fill at least one hand with Super Bowl rings. And he wants to do it with Wes Welker. He wants to the Patriots front office to be able shore up the secondary and secure new weaponry. But the overriding fact, the one that makes Tom Brady so unique in the modern NFL era is that he wants those future Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He is loyal.
Brady has had about as great a run as any quarterback with one team in NFL history – 3 Super Bowls, 8 Pro Bowls, 10 division titles. Heck, the only season the Patriots have not won the AFC East since 2002 was 2008, the year Brady tore in ACL in the first quarter of the first game.
Tom Brady has carried this team for a decade, not only with his elite play, but also with his reciprocity. We hear all about the “Patriots Way” and Bill Belichick’s legendary cutthroat mentality. Brady, with his undying quest for perfection, is the perfect front man for the system. You get the sense that Brady wouldn’t tolerate a showboating teammate any more than Belichick would tolerate coaching him. “Patriots Way” has multiple meanings, but a prevalent one is finding players that Tom Brady wants to work with. There’s a reason Deion Branch is on his seventeenth tour of duty with the Patriots when he hasn’t lasted for a sliver of time with any other team.
Peyton Manning often gets mentioned (or mocked) for being a coach-player hybrid. Tom Brady is not mentioned so much because his coach is such a presence. But Brady is as influential on this team as Manning is on his, especially now. Brady’s relationship with Belichick and Bob Kraft is more of a partnership than the typical owner-coach-player relationship. They are a family who has each other’s backs. Brady restructures his contract and the Patriots reward him with a supporting cast that make the team legitimate Super Bowl contenders every year.
In 2001, the Patriots handed over the franchise to a guy they drafted in the 6th round. What they got in return is not only one of the greatest careers of any player (not just quarterback) in NFL history, but a loyal soldier. Besides a younger Aaron Rodgers, Brady is the only future Hall of Fame quarterback to still be playing for the team that drafted him. (Even Eli Manning was a Charger for half a second.)
Brady could have been a diva as his contract was closer to expiration, demanding a significantly higher salary and threatening to test the open waters of free agency. And don’t get me wrong, his new restructured deal is in no way charity for the Patriots; most of Brady’s money is guaranteed. But the extension, in both its timeliness and saved cap money, signifies Brady’s loyalty to an organization that has had his back from the moment they drafted him. The chip on Tom Brady’s shoulder for being a late round pick will always remain, but the Patriots have helped to shrink it significantly.