Brady deal proves that big contracts can get done without a new CBA

In late July, the NFL faced a problem.  After an offseason that generated plenty of circumstantial evidence to support a finding of collusion when it comes to the failure to sign restricted free agents and or key veterans with a year or two remaining on their contracts to long-term deals, the owners had to decide whether to play hardball with the incoming crop of rookies, or whether to continue to sign unproven players to big-money packages.

The approach that many teams applied to restricted free agents — offering the minimum tender and, in multiple cases, slashing it to the absolute minimum permitted by the labor agreement — if applied to the rookies would have resulted in teams squatting on their rookies via a one-year, $310,000 offer, the minimum permissible tender under the CBA.

But the league likely realized that such an approach would come dangerously close to providing smoking-gun evidence of collusion, even though it would have been the logical extension of the approach taken regarding the league’s proven players who are in line for new deals.

And so after the Rams gave a quarterback who had never played a down of NFL football a contract with $25 million guaranteed upon signing and another $25 million in guaranteed money vesting within a year, it only made sense that someone would break ranks from the “we can’t do long-term deals until there’s a new labor contract” mantra and sign a big-name player to a landmark deal.

The Patriots did just that on Thursday, with multiple reports indicating a guarantee of $48.5 million for quarterback Tom Brady.

The message?  Teams really can sign veteran players to long-term deals notwithstanding the labor situation, and hopefully the fact that the Patriots finally have done it will get others to do the same — which in turn could thaw the icy relations between the league and the union.

18 responses to “Brady deal proves that big contracts can get done without a new CBA

  1. So, the Vikings lose, and PFT hasn’t written a story on how bad they SUCKED ASS?!!
    hahahahahaha — Gotta Love It —

  2. Of course deals can get done with your franchise QB, but that doesn’t mean teams should sign every veteran that whines about wanting more money, especially those with two DUI’s under their belt.
    The rookie deals get done because it is business as usual until something changes. If you want the rookie to play, you have to pay him the going rate. Until the rules change, the going rate is what it is.
    However, it is still unknown how these mega deals will affect the rest of the team. How will this impact the salary cap? Unknown. Can you sign all of your players to these mega deals and still have a viable business with the new CBA? Unknown.

  3. Brady won’t stay healthy long enough to collect it all.
    Talent made this deal. Unions force lack of talent at excessive prices, which is why the lockout is a done deal!
    See you guys in 2015!

  4. @BDiddy both of Brady’s previous contracts were also four year deals. So, this one fits the same mold as the others, only at a higher salary.
    @Larch it’s over $48.5 million guaranteed, not total. The total is $72 million. That actually equals $18 million a year, which is the highest salary ever. Also, while Bradford’s guarantee may have been slightly greater in total, that was on a 6 year deal. Brady gets $48.5 million guaranteed for a 4 year deal, which is a much higher average. Don’t worry, when the Colts finally do Peyton’s new contract, there will be a new biggest contract ever. I guess if Manning can’t have more rings, he’ll settle for more money.

  5. This was never a story. There was never going to be an issue between Brady and Kraft. Both are class acts, both want to win and both know they have a great shot of doing it together.
    There is talk of contract size and historic value, but none of that matters. Brady is locked in, he’s valued and he knows it.
    Now if we can just keep 21 year old, poor driving douche bags from colliding with Tom’s car, we can move onto football.
    Moving onto the the Bengals.

  6. Larch says…
    I guess I fail at math. How does 48 over four make him highest paid? How does it equal 19 per? So confused.
    The deal is 4yrs./72.5 million. The 48 million is guaranteed.
    BDiddy says…
    Why is the deal only for four years?
    Because Tom Brady is 33 years old. If he plays out this deal he’ll be 37 with the possibility of diminishing skills or just the need to move in a different direction by that time.
    SpartaChris says…
    The message also-Players don’t *have* to hold out in order to get big money contracts.
    Amen to that brother. I’m not a Pats fan by any stretch, but Tom Brady has shown some real class getting this deal done. Players take note. These are the actions of a man who truly loves the game.

  7. The cheap Patriots now have the highest paid player in the NFL…4 for 72, 48 garunteed…
    Top it off Robert Kraft a greedy owner and Tom Brady a Union Rep… How are the haters going to spin that?

  8. But but but….how does this happen????
    All I have ever heard is that the Patriots are too cheap to pay their players… much for that theory!
    The Patriots have never had a problem paying their people if the come to work everyday, honor their contract and do their job….
    You listening Mankins?

  9. Steve W just hit on it.
    The real story here, Florio, is that the Patriots wanted to get Brady’s deal done before Manning gets his.
    This way, they can look like the good guys, still give Brady the biggest deal of all time, and then shrug when Manning gets an even bigger deal. Kraft just saved 12 – 15 million by being the early bird.
    Additionally, you know the Colts are pissed right now, this deal just cost them a ton, Manning is going to want more.
    On a side note, the best policy for pay in the NFL would be incentive-laden contracts. You can (and the teams do) track statistics for every position on the team. O-linemen would receive incentives for preventing sacks, contributing to high rushing yards per attempt, these sorts of things.
    This type of pay system would allow the rookies coming in to still have an opportunity to earn, without hamstringing the rest of the team and league.

  10. @ carp killah
    I see what you’re getting at, but incentive heavy contracts based on individual stats is a dangerous thing in football, as it is one of the most teammate dependent sports. You think WRs like T.O. cause havoc in the locker room now because they don’t think they get the ball enough? Just wait until the majority of their income depends on them getting the ball. What about a WR who isn’t targeted for a pass, but makes the key block that frees the another receiver up for a TD? You can find issues like that for pretty much every position. For instance, what about a CB that’s good enough that QBs try to avoid throwing the ball in his direction? His stats won’t look all that impressive, but his contribution to the team is quite valuable.

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