The mainstream Patriots media has been all aflutter about the supposed “disconnect” between the Patriots front office and Tom Brady’s camp, including agents Donald Yee and Steve Dubin.
Now while the Patriots have let players walk before, see Asante Samuel and Ty Law, recently Bill Belichick and company have been very successful in holding onto players that find valuable. Leigh Bodden and Vince Wilfork both got fair-market deals this year, as well as Ty Warren, Kevin Faulk, and James Sanders recently.
That said, Tom Brady is truly in a different category than any of the players listed above. The difference between him and his imminent replacement, in this case Brian Hoyer, is more disparate than any other position on the Patriots. This places the leverage squarely in the hands of Brady, which he has carried softly in the past.
Tom Brady will be 33 years old at the start of the 2010 NFL season, and arguably has another three to five good years in him. It seems like a three year deal makes sense for both the player and team, keeping future options open. The money will be a little harder to calculate.
If you average the cap-numbers of the five highest paid quarterbacks in 2009, you end up with just over $16 million dollars. Brady will earn $3.5 million dollars in 2010, excluding any off-season bonuses ($3 million Roster Bonus) and prorated amounts from earlier signing/option bonuses. He is probably looking for, and definitely deserves, a healthy raise from that figure — especially considering that Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and other lesser NFL signal-callers are making more than twice that in some cases.
We would propose that the Patriots offer Brady a three year contract, worth $7, $8, and $9 million respectively in base salary. Add on a $26 million dollar signing bonus and you end up with a 3-year deal for $50 million dollars. That places Brady’s average at just under $17 million, which is right where he should be – at the top of the heap of NFL quarterbacks.
What do you say? Deal or No Deal?