Tom Brady Contract Extension: What It Means for the New England Patriots

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2010

Tom Brady Contract Extension: What It Means for the New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures as he lines up in the shotgun formation against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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

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    FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 20:  Vince Wilfork  #75 of the New England Patriots  chats on the side line during preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on August 20, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    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

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Tom Brady #12 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrate after teaming up for a first quarter touchdown against the New York Giants on September 2, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherfo
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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

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    FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 12:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks to his team on the sidelines against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the AFC Divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium game on January 12, 2008 in Foxboro, Massach
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    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...

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    FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 12: Randy Moss # 81 of the New England Patriots chats with teammates on the sidelines during the preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on August 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Gett
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    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

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    Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he stands on the podium after The New England Patriots defeated The Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Staduim in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    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.