As the NFL prepares to launch its annual spending spree (which may not turn out to be much of a spree, after all), one of the men making the most money of all NFL players admits that athletes likely make too much of it.
“Yes, we probably do,” Brees recently told WWL radio in New Orleans, via the team’s official website. “Unless you’re finding a cure for cancer or creating world peace, I don’t know if anybody deserves to get that much money. That’s the industry that we’re in. You could probably say the same for actors, actresses and entertainers. We’re in the entertainment industry and business is business and there is a market. The market establishes what you get paid.”
Of course, under the current NFL market only a small handful of athletes are getting grossly overpaid like Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and (now) Joe Flacco.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Joe Flacco jumped me,” Brees said. “I’m sure that, maybe it’s Aaron Rodgers, maybe it’s somebody else, is going leap-frog Joe Flacco and the trend is going to continue in that direction as our game continues to grow and the popularity continues to grow. That doesn’t surprise me.”
But the problem is that, with each cap-busting deal for a franchise quarterback, the role players and scrubs end up being pushed to take less and less. While it’s a reality of a salary-capped system, it becomes more pronounced when the cap is increasing by less than two percent per year and the expectations at the top of the market continue to soar.
For Brees, his 2012 contract eventually will force him and the Saints to make a hard decision. Come 2015, they can carry $26.4 million under his name on a cap that could still be south of $130 million. (Even at $130 million, that’s still more than 20 percent of the entire spending limit for one player.) Or they can ask him to take less money. Or they can decide that the time has come to move on.
That’s likely the real reason Tom Brady opted to take only $27 million over the final three years of his current contract. Though he likely will be underpaid, the team will never deem him to be so overpaid that the Patriots have to cut him.