On the surface, neither the Patriots nor quarterback Tom Brady have given any credence to the notion that the relationship between team and player isn’t as rosy as it used to be. Those in the know know that it isn’t, as Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports pointed out last month.
Brady wants a new deal, the team has invoked the uncertain status of the labor deal to justify delay, and as Albert Breer of the Boston Globe recently observed it all points to the likely use of the franchise tag on Brady come 2011, if there’s a franchise tag in 2011. Or a football season.
In the interim, Brady stayed away from this year’s offseason workouts at an eyebrow-raising rate.
One point of frustration, we’re told, comes from the manner in which the team has used Brady’s willingness to take less than top dollar in the past as a tool for leveraging others in the organization (players and non-players alike) to do the same. As we hear it, Brady never intended his decision to provide the franchise with a blueprint for squeezing his colleagues.
And so, possibly for that very reason, all indications are that Brady wants top dollar this time around — especially since he saw Peyton Manning take top dollar with a salary cap in place, which didn’t keep the Colts from contending on a regular basis.