There wasn’t much negotiation before Tom Brady selected the Buccaneers over the Chargers, but apparently there’s negotiation now.
Amid multiple reports that Brady will sign with the Buccaneers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is paying homage to colleague Lee Corso’s catch phrase by reporting that the two sides are “still trying to finalize contract language,” and that the discussions will extend into Thursday.
Schefter doesn’t elaborate on the supposed problem; he says only that “[c]ontract language [is] more challenging this offseason than any time in recent memory.”
So what’s challenging about it? There’s a new CBA, which makes structuring the deal a lot more easy than it would have been. The only complication comes from the league’s COVID-19 procedures, and the biggest challenge there relates to the procedure for physicals.
As explained in the memo sent by the league to all teams on March 16, the physical exam can happen only under the auspices of a local, neutral physician who can conduct the exam without either the player or the doctor having to travel a significant distance. The memo expressly states, however, that the player may refuse to undergo a physical conducted by whatever doctor the league finds in the player’s current geographic location.
So if the unique nature of the current offseason is impacting the finalization of contract language and if, as PFT reported on Wednesday, Brady set the terms and the Bucs and Chargers agreed to them, the only thing that it can be is that the Bucs want Brady to take a physical and he doesn’t want to take one.
If that’s the reason (and frankly it’s hard to imagine what else the reason would be), why not report it? Well, that could possibly make Tom look unreasonable. And so Schefter’s report stops short of including the kind of clarity that could make Tom look bad.
There’s also a chance, as an industry source observed, that Schefter — who didn’t break the news of Brady to Tampa — is trying to un-break the story so that he can then re-break it.