FOX Sports Exclusive
Implications of Brady's reported new deal
One down, two to go.
NBC Sports’ Peter King reported on Thursday night’s opener between the Saints and Vikings that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was finalizing a deal with starting QB Tom Brady. An NFL source with direct knowledge of the contract told FOXSports.com the long-awaited four-year deal is worth an average of $18 million per year, and could pave the way for two other franchise quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, to get new mega dollar deals.
Brees is signed through 2013, but a source notes that the final two years of his contract can void. Manning is signed through 2012, but the final two years can void because he met the 15 percent minimum playing time requirement in any season.
With Brady under contract until he’s 37, the Patriots now have locked up two very important players for the foreseeable future. However, it did not look like they would lock up the other player, NT Vince Wilfork, at first glance. Last fall, Wilfork seemed to pessimistic about getting a new deal done. Wilfork’s contract was set to expire at the end of the 2009 season and contract talks were slow. And based on how some of his past teammates were treated, he might have wondered if he would be the next veteran to leave on less than ideal terms.
Just look at the list of disgruntled and departed players—Adam Vinatieri, Adalius Thomas, Randy Moss (he’s entering the final year of his contract and feeling unloved), Richard Seymour, Ty Law, and Lawyer Milloy. Oh, and don’t forget about the Logan Mankins’ restricted free agent tender standoff which is still currently going on and doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well.
Highest paid QBs
Top average per year QB salaries:
1. Tom Brady $18M
2. Eli Manning-$16.25M
3. Carson Palmer-$16.166.667M
4. Philip Rivers-$15.3M
5. Jay Cutler-$14.668.750M
But Wilfork wound up signing a five-year, $40 million deal with roughly $24 million guaranteed back in March. The first $18 million is fully guaranteed by a signing bonus. The rest of the remaining $6 million+ (2010-2012 base salaries) is guaranteed only for injury, a source notes. In this case, the team stepped up and locked up one of their key players for many years to come. The same could be said for the man behind center.
Team owner Robert Kraft didn’t use the excuse of the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement to push the Brady negotiations until next season. It should be noted that Colts president Bill Polian said earlier this year that he wouldn’t rule out waiting until the 2010 season was over to get Manning’s new contract finalized. So, for a change, the Patriots are ahead of the curve on giving out a big contract. Could this approach of taking care of these two important players be a change in philosophy in New England?
This franchise was once the gold standard for drafting and success. But the player losses in free agency and personnel staff losses (Scott Pioli and Tom Dimitroff) over the years might have taken its toll. But getting Brady and Wilfork signed to big-time deals should be a sign that the team is willing to do what is necessary to get back on top of the NFL landscape.