As if there wasn’t a large enough elephant in the room between the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady following the decision to move on from Wes Welker, Brady’s contract provides a potential point of contention between the two sides.
At a time when many assumed that Brady’s new deal, which pays him base salaries of only $7 million, $8 million, and $9 million, respectively, in 2015, 2016, and 2017, will be ripped up after the next two seasons, owner Robert Kraft insisted that the contract won’t be changed.
“No, no, no,” Kraft told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. “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.”
Now, there’s an ominous observation from Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe: “By the way, the iron-clad standing of that five-year, $57 million deal that Robert Kraft professed to Peter King was not the way influential folks in the Brady camp painted the deal.”
It doesn’t matter in 2013 or 2014, especially since Brady is now getting $3 million more than he was supposed to earn. Come 2015, however, the Patriots and Brady may find themselves in the throes of a disagreement.
Actually, it all could have been avoided. The new deal was intended in large part to create cap space now, and next year. The base salaries in 2015, 2016, and 2017 are irrelevant. For Brady, it would have been better to make them high, with the ability to reduce them at the appropriate time.
Of course, that approach would have given Brady far more leverage. If he didn’t want to reduce the deal, the Patriots’ only alternative would have been to cut him.
Now, however, the Patriots will be holding the cards come 2015, with Brady’s only alternative being retirement.