Tom Brady Contract Extension: What It Means for the New England Patriots
It's the storyline of the off-season that should never have been a storyline in the first place.
Yes, although Tom Brady's reported three-year, $58 million contract extension hasn't been finalized yet, only the worst doom-and-gloom Chicken Little football fans could have predicted the deal wouldn't get done.
Perhaps even the biggest Brady bashers believed they had a chance to land the future Hall of Fame quarterback in free agency. One loophole in that theory: he has to become a free agent before we start saying what other teams he could impact.
There's obviously a fair amount of backlash from this, but a few things stand out to me.
Renewed Confidence in Renewing Contracts
Vince Wilfork, Stephen Neal, Kevin Faulk, Leigh Bodden, Tully Banta-Cain.
All were given prominent extensions for the upcoming season.
So much for the idea that the Patriots "don't really pay." Add Tom Brady to that list, and the proof is in the pudding.
Vince Wilfork: five years, $40 million. Stephen Neal: two years, $6.5 million. Leigh Bodden: four years, $22 million. Tully Banta-Cain: three years, $13.5 million.
I'd love if my boss would "not really pay" me even 1/10 of any of those salaries.
These players were all essential to the past success of the team, and the Patriots want to field the team that gives them the best chance to win year after year.
Add to that Brady's three-year, $58 million extension, and suddenly there's a reason for players in a Patriots' uniform to believe they'll be in one for the foreseeable future.
Young Weapons Get to Develop Rapport
Even at 33 years old, Tom Brady is still essential to the future of New England's offense.
The Patriots have some veteran targets, but their depth weapons are about as young as they come. In this transitional year for the Patriots' offense, Brady will develop rapport with key new targets like Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, and Taylor Price.
The relationship that they all build will carry over next year, and future years.
Bill Belichick Can Strengthen His Legacy
Asking who's more important between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is like asking someone to pick between their children. These two are much older than I am, but I've watched both solidify their legacies before my very eyes, both in their own ways.
In many views, the relationship between Brady and Belichick has been as beneficial to one as the other. Now, the two have the chance to continue that relationship.
Of course, Belichick could strengthen his legacy by rebuilding the once great Patriots' defense, as well. That's a point for a different article, though.
Now, The Patriots Can Handle That Other Guy...
There are a few other big names on the Patriots' docket for an extension. Among them is 34-year-old Randy Moss, whose three-year deal for $27 million runs up at the end of 2010.
Moss verbally expressed frustration with the situation for what he feels is a lack of appreciation for his attitude and production over his three-year stint with the team, and he has said time and time again that he understands the business side. Still, he doesn't think he'll get re-signed.
If Brady's contract is done, Moss' could follow shortly. After all, they are both key components to the offense.
Don't get it twisted, though. Moss' extension may not get done this week, month, or even at all. It could be the light at the end of the tunnel, though, as Moss appears to be the next one up.
The Patriots Are Committed To Winning in The Near Future
Whether you believe in Brady as an all-time great or not, the bottom line is that without him, it's relatively uncertain whether the Patriots would have won three Super Bowls in four years time.
Many claim that the window is closing for the Patriots.
That window isn't closed shut until Brady retires or is no longer a Patriot.
The former is out of the question for at least another four or five years, and if the Patriots extend Brady for three years, so will the latter.
Of course, you have to get to the big dance to win it, and that will take a team of 21 other guys to accomplish along with Brady. But the quarterback is the king, and as he goes, so goes the franchise.