This time, he didn’t plead the fifth. But the message was the same.
Asked by reporters on Thursday whether his contract contributed to his absence from offseason workouts, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady avoided the topic completely.
“I’ve never talked about my contract,” Brady said. “I’ve never brought up money, I think for a lot of reasons that I’ve said over the years. Those things are very personal.”
It’s hard not to think that the contract is at least a factor in Brady’s unwillingness to show up for unpaid offseason work. His current deal averages $20.5 million per year, which was only $633,000 behind the top annual average at that point. In less than two years, however, the top of the market has gone from $22.13 million (Joe Flacco) to $24.5 million (Andrew Luck) to $25 million (Derek Carr) to $27 million (Matthew Stafford) to $27.5 million (Jimmy Garoppolo) to $28 million (Kirk Cousins) to $30 million (Matt Ryan).
Which means that Brady is now $9.5 million per year behind Ryan.
Brady apparently hasn’t asked for a new contract, but he also possibly believes he shouldn’t have to. But with the Patriots possibly uncertain regarding how long Brady will play at a high level and whether they want to make a commitment that would tie their hands beyond 2018, it may be hard to come up with an offer that would represent more than Brady currently is getting but that would still reflect far less than he deserves.