Kraft insists Brady deal won’t be re-done

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The backlash surely was stronger than the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady had anticipated.  Via carefully leaked partial details, Brady’s new contract was sold as a team-first gesture by a player who had opted to take less.

Initially, it worked.  To the casual fan (and to the zealous fan with only a casual knowledge of how NFL contracts work), news of the three-year, $27 million extension that cleared $15 million in cap space over the next two years created the unmistakable impression that Brady was taking less — not only in the future, but now.

The full truth, which emerged one day (and, in today’s world, multiple news cycles) later, told a different story.  Instead of earning $30 million over the next two years, Brady will be getting $30 million right now, along with an extra $3 million.  As a result, Brady and the Patriots quickly were criticized by many for trying to pull a fast one in the characterization of the contract.

Yes, Brady eventually will be taking less starting in 2015, when his compensation will be $7 million.  But few believe that, if Brady is playing at a high level, the deal will be honored as written.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft insists that it will be.

No, no, no,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Peter King of Sports Illustrated regarding the possibility of another new contract.  “This is a real deal.  Look at our track record.  We don’t do fake deals.  The contract we have with Tom Brady is a real contract we will both live by.”

The problem for the Patriots is that, if Brady continues to play at a high level over the next two years and the deal isn’t reworked, suspicions will persist that Kraft and Brady likewise brokered a wink-nod side deal that will kick in once Brady’s career ends.  The fact that Kraft laid out this contract directly with Brady on a long plane flight, bypassing agent Don Yee, will serve only to increase those suspicions.

Let’s be clear once again on this:  There is no evidence of a side deal.  And there’s currently no tangible reason to believe there is one.  But when unusual things happen, reasonable minds yearn for a reasonable explanation.  The idea that Brady opted to do a multi-million-dollar solid for an organization worth well over a billion dollars makes no sense to many.

From a salary cap standpoint, the deal makes plenty of sense, because it reverses the trend of gigantic cap dollars for one position at a time when the cap isn’t going up by very much.

“If we were going to have to pay him elite-quarterback money and have elite-quarterback cap numbers, I just didn’t think we would be able to build a team,” Kraft told King.  “We don’t want to have a team where we’re paying 18 to 20 percent to a player on the cap.  I wanted to do something elegant that would work for everybody.  I had been talking to him off and on for maybe 18 months, about how I wanted him to finish his career here, and about how we both have to be smart about it.  I just really want him to end his career a Patriot.”

Eighteen months ago, another contract in which Kraft had been directly involved had just been completed — the labor deal between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.  Kraft knew at the time (and has said so since then) that the salary cap won’t be shooting up any time soon.  In the interim, Brady saw for himself that the cap went up by only $600,000 per team in 2012 (a 0.5-percent increase) and by only $2.4 million in 2013 (a 1.9-percent climb).

So, yes, the Patriots’ reason for doing the deal makes sense.  Brady’s decision to commit to three below-market seasons in the name of creating cap space now doesn’t.  He could have insisted on higher base salaries in 2015, 2016, and 2017, realizing that he could be faced with a request to take a pay cut (or take a hike) in the out years.  Instead, he took the future pay cut in advance — without knowing whether his skills will be the same or whether the cap will indeed go up once the TV deals kick in.

Then again, maybe Brady finally has gotten to the point in his life where he realizes that no amount of money (his or his wife’s) can buy the feeling he last experienced more than eight years ago.  The feeling of being a champion.

“We’re going to spend to the cap,” Kraft said.  “Tom knows that it’s not like whatever we don’t pay him we’re putting in the Kraft family pocket.  He gets it, and now he’s rooting for us to make the right decisions in building the team.”

The fact that Brady took less surely will be used to help build the team with other players who, influenced by Brady’s gesture, will do the same.  There’s nothing unfair or improper about it; the system is the system, and the goal for every team is to find a way to win within the confines of the rules.

Of course, that won’t stop some from wondering whether the team is indeed coloring outside the lines.

“These people don’t know the relationship between Tommy and this team,” Kraft told King.  “Maybe they hate the Patriots, or they’re jealous.  I understand the naysayers are out there, but we want to build a team capable of winning every year, and while this is not perfect in every way, we think this will help us get there.”

There’s no doubt the Patriots will continue to knock on the door of their fourth Super Bowl win.  And if one comes in the next two years, the question will be whether Brady is knocking on Kraft’s door for a raise in 2015.

Either way, the skepticism will persist.  And it’s a small price to pay for being a consistent contender for more than a decade.

48 responses to “Kraft insists Brady deal won’t be re-done

  1. Is there any evidence that the Redskins and Cowboys did anything wrong? And yet the NFL saw fit to fine them over $36M on the eve of free agency last year. So how can the Patriots do this without getting a fine?

  2. “These people don’t know the relationship between Tommy and this team,” Kraft told King. “Maybe they hate the Patriots, or they’re jealous.

    I do believe this quote was said directly for you, Florio, haha.

  3. Tom Brady and Ben R-Berger are setting the standard. Flacco is a greedy punk. An it will screw his team in the long run. He probably got brainwashed by his agent. The aforementioned two are leading by example. To the benefit of their team.

  4. Great deal for both sides. Patriots get extra cap room and Brady gets peace of mind knowing he will be a Patriot for life. I wonder if there is a gentlemen’s agreement between them that is TOm did this deal Welker would get a long term deal. I would be cool to see Welker get a deal that ends the same time as Brady’s and they retire together.

  5. This is just TOO funny. Florio has now written a dozen stories on this topic, and ALL of them have the same serious factual mistake.

    Cmom Mike, are you basically saying that if you tell a lie often enough eventually someone is going to believe its true? Or are you simply playing to the “hater” audience

    The least you can do is put in this disclaimer telling in print what we all already know. “I am a Steeler zealot and thus Patriot hater. And when I have a chance to say something negative about the Patriots, I will do so regardless of the facts.”

    If you were honest enough to do that, at least then I could have some respect for you.

  6. It’s hard to believe for the average working person that someone could turn down a chance to make X million more dollars – for any reason.

    But at the unfathomable amount of money Brady makes and has already amassed, I can buy into the fact that a few million in either direction won’t make the slightest difference in his lifestyle.

    So it’s perfectly reasonable to accept that what Brady wants more than a few more million – is one more shot at a championship. With the end of his career in sight, that’s motivation enough for a player as fiercely competitive as he is.

  7. It’s unusual how much difficulty Florio continues to have with the notion that one of the world’s wealthiest couples doesn’t feel the need to squeeze extra money from the Patriots simply to justify Brady’s ego or some sense of market value.

  8. Maybe it’s like the NFL-Goodell deal? Take a dollar this year and 30 million next when the players sign. In this case, when you retire, I’ll pay you 100 million for 5 years to be an super scout. Only time will tell.

  9. I’ll believe Brady is taking less when I actually see him take less. My first chance to see Brady ever take a discounted salary for his team (in his entire career) will be in 2015. That’s if the deal isn’t redone and Brady doesn’t retire first.

    Kraft can say anything he wants now, he’s got 2 years before he has to make a decision on Brady’s contract and nothing he’s said so far is legally binding.

  10. I don’t believe a word coming out of Kraft’s mouth. That is my right. I didn’t believe the initial reports of the Brady contract, when the vast majority of Patriot fans said Brady took one for the team. I was correct, he didn’t.

    Lets see if the Patriot fans have learned their lessons from the initial reports of Brady’s contract or will they continue to drink the Patriot Kool Aid.

    As for the argument that Brady and his wife have all the money the will ever need. I believe that to be true, but let us not forget that we live in a world where half the marriages end in divorce.

  11. Why is it that any time anyone does something good, we have to look for the negative in it?

  12. The end is nigh with the Patriots. Each year they manage to just make a right enough move to keep winning. Though the Jets, Bills and Dolphins can’t suck forever. When Brady leaves, Belichek will be right behind him with tape and mistresses in tow.

  13. Let see Brady takes a team friendly deal and get blasted for hurting the “little guys” pocket??? While Falco takes every last dime and he’s looking out for the “little guys”? Someone point out the logic in this one??? Pretty sure the”little guys” on the Pats don’t think Brady hurt them. Lets see how Baltimore’s cap looks in the next 2 years and who they can’t sign because of Falco’s deal. I’ll take a team friendly deal over a union friendly deal any day.

  14. Brady will have no worries about redoing his contract as he knows he won’t win another SB!

  15. Florio, you are making yourself look more and more stupid with every article you post, it sounds like you are upset because you came out shooting down the idea of a star player playing for less then market value and every credible person have shot your moronic ideas down including your idol Peter King, the only person who seems to agree with you is Ron
    Borges, and he comes up with a its time to fire Belichick and trade Brady article every two weeks, so I doubt you want to be grouped with him.

    This quote from you shows why you have no business writing about sports: “So, yes, the Patriots’ reason for doing the deal makes sense. Brady’s decision to commit to three below-market seasons in the name of creating cap space now doesn’t. ”

    It makes sense for Brady because Brady wants to win that fourth and fifth ring and has made his money already, this may come as a shock to you but some people who play sports even at the professional level do actually care about winning, and are competitive about things besides who makes the most money.

    Your opinions regarding this matter show that despite your attempts to be a sports journalist, you are really still a sterotypical, bloodthirsty take everyone for all they got and cash in lawyer.

  16. What is there to be so skeptical about. It’s not even the first time Brady restructured to help the team.

    Even if you want to be skeptical, there are real financial benefits to this for Brady. Winning brings him all his endorsement money. If they were 2-14 each year, Brady wouldn’t be getting anything out side of the game. All that comes from winning. Brady is looking at total compensation and he is risking guaranteed future earnings on what he could get if he continues to win. Imagine how much money he would make in his post football career if he ever got to 5 superbowls? It would be unreal.

  17. Florio hyou need to comment on the deal as written and not how you think it will be redone in 3 years. Unlike flacco’s th is one won’t need to be restructured for cap space later

  18. Brady did this deal because he saw how quickly things can change for an all-time great QB like Manning. He is taking all his money up front now, that way if he has a serious injury or something happens after this year, it will be much easier to retain him instead of the pats cutting him loose like the colts did to manning.

    Good deal for both sides. Both are benifitting

  19. Hey skarfacci, the reason Ben and Brady are restructuring is because they have already gotten a huge longterm contract. This is Joes’s first contract. He didn’t hurt the team at all

  20. Your pathetic “Patriots are doing something against the rules” insinuations are getting progressively more ridiculous and baseless. Go with what works I guess, facts be damned. Spygate was a camera location infraction – nothing more. How much money did you make turning it into what you did?

    You take other people’s stories, put your own warped slant on it and then try and come down as some moral authority. You’re a gossip monger and a lawyer – not exactly someone who can be trusted.

    If you really wanted people to take you seriously maybe you should still be asking why the QB of your team can go on a raping spree with the help of the police instead of making the Patriots the boogeyman every chance you get.

  21. Really lost alot of respect for Florio throughout this whole thing. No analysis of Ben’s contract details? No criticism of Flacco milking every penny he could from his team? Nope, just direct the criticism to the one of the three who actually deserves the most praise.

  22. “Brady and the Patriots quickly were criticized by many for trying to pull a fast one in the characterization of the contract.”

    And by many, you mean You.

  23. Florio is so butthurt about Brady’s contract that he can’t see how obsessive and wrong he is about it.

  24. Simply a win-win for the Patriots and TB. Why be greedy and hamstring the team and not be competitive annually? Players looking for the big contract rarely win a Super Bowl. Ravens and Patriots: very smart front offices indeed!

  25. OMG! I have never seen such an outpouring of jealousy and envy than in the last two weeks on this issue. First of all, what Brady’s wife makes on an annual basis has NOTHING to do with what his income is with the Pats. Secondly, most of you haters would be jubilant if you had Brady as your quarterback. Thirdly, Florio your lack of objectivity and constant questioning of the Patriots continues to be laugable. This man is a class act, not a punk or ego maniac, he ( and his wife for that matter) do numerous events for those less fortunate, he truly does want to win, and is a TRUE teammate. No one is perfect, and I am sure Tom has his flaws, but from what I can see they are few, and I thank god he is with the Patriots.

  26. The real story here that should be out in the media is Florio’s amazing lack of objectivity throughout this entire episode, even going so far as to insert his far-fetched nonsense in between the lines of other journalists articles. You know journalists Florio… those are the people that actually cite facts and interview people.

    He took less than market value, and both he and the Pats took their own risks with this contract for the betterment of the team with regards to the cap. In doing so he set the standard (potentially) for how a veteran top-tier QB can work with the team to stay competitive. DEAL WITH IT, FLORIO!

  27. See I had no idea Florio was a Steelers fan. Things are starting to make sense. This is why he slanders the Patriots every chance he gets. Maybe if Brady came onto your irrelevant talk show and discussed his deal this wouldn’t be happening.

    Florio you have proved that you can’t be objective about the Patriots. You probably shouldn’t be writing little blurbs about them, for the credibility of this websites sake. Tom Brady has always been team first. He knows that being a Patriot gives him his best chance to get that elusive fourth ring. By taking a pay cut he increases the Patriots’ chances of winning the Super Bowl in New Jersey this year as well as other Super Bowls in the future.

    What is so hard to grasp about that Florio?

  28. Florio grew up in Steeler country, but was a Vikings fan. There must be some other explanation for his obvious bias against the Patriots. He claims people said Brady was taking less now. Who said that? Brady left some money on the table to help the team. Also, in exchange, He got a 3mil dollar bump, 30 mil guaranteed, the whole 57 guaranteed if he doesn’t suffer a career ending injury, and the chance to retire a Patriot. It also gives him the best chance to cement his first ballot HOF legacy by winning another SB or two with the team that probably gives him the best chance to do it, with some extra cap room to get better. The 57 mil guaranteed is about the same as Manning and Brees got. Even Flacco only got 52 guaranteed. After Flacco’s 3rd yr his cap hit is 29 mil and his contract will have to be redone. So, why, after saying there’s no evidence of a side deal or a conspiracy, throw it out there? Not covering himself in glory on this one.

  29. Also, Brady went to Yee and discussed the deal with his agent after the plane ride, even though it was implied that Brady bypassed his agent and something ‘suspicious’ had gone on.

  30. This whole thing is a non-issue. Brady took instant money upfront to decrease his cap hit in the future, its a win for BOTH sides. I know you hate New England Florio but give me a break, this is a stretch.

  31. When was the last time the Pats held up the Lombardi Trophy? It’s been so long ago that it must not be relevant. They are a non- factor .

  32. This article makes no sense. It says a) The public thinks this deal is good for the patriots but b) its actually really good for Tom Brady so c) its fishy because its not good enough for Tom Brady.

  33. “Is that picture from the last Patriots’ Super Bowl win? If so, that’s an oldie.”

    picture from the last Patriots’ Super Bowl win***

  34. Mr Kraft is a very smart man. His comments about hate and jealousy is reflected perfectly by the comments here.

    If you all think the Pats aren’t relevent and have no “real” SBs, why do you all post on stories about them? The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Irrelevency should equal indiffernce. Ergo, you hate, you don’t think they are irrelevent.

    Mike Reiss also pointed out on his twitter yesterday that Kraft is aware of people thinking TB demanded anything as far as signing other players, and refuted that.

  35. giantssb42champs says:
    Mar 4, 2013 1:14 PM
    “Is that picture from the last Patriots’ Super Bowl win? If so, that’s an oldie.”

    picture from the last Patriots’ Super Bowl win***

    see Legend:

    *** = Three time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

  36. Count me in as one of those people that can’t stand Brady, Kraft, Belichick or the Patriots. Caught breaking the rules in the past. Again doing something that slides right along the rules of the game. Yeah Brady is giving them a break, but he is also bending them over at the same time… Getting a bunch of money upfront and having a very good chance of becoming injured or having his play slip even further than it did last year. He knows what he is doing, and getting taken is not one of them. Brady is fake in the public eye, but all about the ME, ME, ME behind closed doors.

  37. Funniest part of all this is Tom Brady was (alphabetically) the first plaintiff in the NFLPA suit against the NFL. The thing was essentially entitled “Tom Brady vs. the National Football League.”

    Then one year later he goes out and signs for substantially below his market value.
    That just strikes me as funny.

  38. giantssb42champs says:
    Mar 4, 2013 1:14 PM

    picture from the last Patriots’ Super Bowl win***


    Funny coming from a Giants fan. You don’t think Belichick (and Parcells) were doing the same stuff with the Giants in the 80’s? To invalidate the Pats’ Super Bowls would be to invalidate your own. Think about it.

  39. Funny coming from a Giants fan. You don’t think Belichick (and Parcells) were doing the same stuff with the Giants in the 80′s? To invalidate the Pats’ Super Bowls would be to invalidate your own. Think about it.
    It’s safe to say that based on Belicheats record with the Browns he didn’t start spying until at least a decade after the giants SB wins. So unlike the Pats, they’re all legit.

  40. Three time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.


    Not in the court of public opinion.

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