September 29, 2016

Ron Borges – Wandering in the Wilderness

by BSMW member “rrsafety”.

On January 6, 2006, Boston Globe sports reporter and columnist Ron Borges continued his personal grudge against the New England Patriots organization by, once again, reporting as facts things that are demonstrably untrue.

For the time being, let’s leave aside Borges’ incomprehensible views on the way the Patriots pay their players (a one point during the interview Borges says the Patriots are “cheap” and then just three minutes later states “they are so close to the cap they can’t make any moves at all”), let’s instead focus on one issue, one statement, one player and one big distortion.

As a guest on “The Drive” with Michael Felger (ESPN radio 890), Borges claimed the following:

“I know Tedy Bruschi, he won’t say it on the record but I know he said it off the record, you know, he, once he got sick, he realized he made big mistakes in how he handled his, his, contract.”

(Editor’s note: Aren’t off the record conversations private? How many ethics is Borges violating by revealing off the record conversations on the air?)

At this point Felger breaks in with the argument that Bruschi was served well by his contract with the Patriots because Tedy renegotiated the contract before he had his stroke and that it actually worked out better for him in the long run. Borges counters with this:

“No, but two contracts ago when he, he could have gotten twice as much money to go to the Packers, he didn’t do it. He stayed here, so, so over time, he can’t make that money up.”

As we will see, this is untrue. Not only did Tedy Bruschi “make this money up”, he has made more money with the Patriots than he would have with the Green Bay Packers.

Borges statement that Bruschi “could have gotten twice as much money to go to the Packers” is a lie.

Let’s go back a bit in time to find out exactly what this “twice as much money deal” actually was.

This is what Borges wrote at the time of Tedy’s contract negotiations in spring of 2000:

Boston Globe
March 19, 2000
Author: RON BORGES, GLOBE STAFF
Free agent Tedy Bruschi is a good guy wandering in a wilderness he doesn’t seem to quite fathom. Bruschi was close to signing a reported two-year, $3 million deal with the Patriots that included a $1 million signing bonus. That is a far cry from his starting point of seeking a four- to five-year deal averaging $2.5 million a season and including a $3 million bonus. Those were numbers he was never likely to receive, but what is worse is that he left on the table a five-year offer worth $9 million that included a $1.5 million bonus in Green Bay. That averages out to $1.8 million a season, which means if he ends up in New England under the present parameters, he will have cost himself $600,000 over the next two years. More importantly, Bruschi seems to think the market will increase as time passes, but history indicates that it decreases after the initial burst of activity. His hope remains Cleveland, because it has the cap room to do what it wants, but the fact is if it wanted to do something big with Bruschi, it would have been done already. So, if he’s smart, he’ll grab what he can today.

I might add at this point that the Boston Herald said it was a four year deal averaging $1.7 a year. Kevin Mannix wrote: “His ties to New England were strong enough that Bruschi passed up a four-year deal worth an average of $1.7 million from Green Bay to take the Patriots’ offer. The fact that the Pats’ deal is for only two years was a plus from Bruschi’s perspective because it will allow him a couple of more years to develop as a full-time linebacker before he becomes a free agent again.”

But for the purposes of argument, I’ll give Borges the benefit of the doubt (although I personally think the Herald numbers more likely).

Publicly available information supplies this breakdown for Tedy’s Patriots earnings since he signed his self-negotiated deals with the Pats vs. what they would have been with the Green Bay Packers. (I might note that attempting to get actual per year information is difficult, especially with Tedy as he continually renegotiated during this time period. Good sources of info for this are USA Today NFL salary cap website and also the Herald and Globe archives, but I’ll give you actually “money quotes” from primary sources and let you decide if I have the numbers right.

Boston Globe
March 31, 2000
Bruschi, who is a very good linebacker, received a $1 million signing bonus, and will be paid $450,000 this year. Next year, he’ll earn $650,000, which includes a minimum salary plus roster and workout bonuses.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
January 18, 2002
Included in Bruschi’s $4.6 million extension is a $2 million signing bonus. He negotiated the deal himself over the past couple of weeks.

Boston Herald
June 17, 2004
The contract extension signed by Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi includes a $3.5 million signing bonus and amounts to a four-year, $8.1 million deal. Bruschi was entering the final year of his contract in 2004 but the new pact increases the likelihood the nine-year veteran will retire as a lifelong Patriot. The deal includes base salaries of $700,000 in 2004, $850,000 in 2005, $1.35 million in 2006 and $1.7 million in 2007. Bruschi represented himself in the negotiations.

Season beginning fall of 2004 $ 4,200,000 vs. $1,800,000
Season beginning fall of 2003 $ 850,000 vs. $1,800,000
Season beginning fall of 2002 $ 2,650,000 vs. $1,800,000
Season beginning fall of 2001 $ 650,000 vs. $1,800,000
Season beginning fall of 2000 $ 1,450,000 vs. $1,800,000

In my mind, this shows that for the five years that Tedy has played at New England instead of at Green Bay, he made $9,800,000, higher than the” five-year offer worth $9 million” claimed by Borges himself.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering about the financial benefits of being Super Bowl contenders each year, this is how that breaks out.

2000
$0
GB
$0

2001
Patriots
$65,000
$36,500
$18,000
Packers
$18,000

2002
$0 both teams

2003
Patriots
$65,000
$36,500
$18,000
GB
$18,000

2004
Patriots
$65,000
$36,500
$18,000
GB
$0

By my mathematics, that is an additional $358,500 in the Patriots column and only $36,000 more in the Packers total.

Final tally?

Tedy Bruschi – $10,158,000
Ron Borges – $ 9,036,000

Twice as much at Green Bay? HA!

(I will leave it to others to imagine the difference in endorsement dollars between Green Bay and New England, not to mention how much the Super Bowl rings are worth at auction).

Now that we know Ron Borges is telling fibs when he says that Bruschi could have done better elsewhere, it leads to the question, “who cares?”

Well, I care for a number of reasons:

  • Tedy Bruschi seems like a nice guy. I makes me sick when reporters like Borges make Tedy out to be stupid, incompetent and an off-the-record complainer.
  • Further, this continuing lie leads to newspaper stories and radio talk show discussion that paints Bruschi as sabotaging the union and other players by accepting “bad deals”Â… are you listening Steve DeOssie?
  • Also, it angers me when a generous family like the Krafts are called “cheap”. It is also unseemly, for obvious reasons.

In conclusion, I will leave you with a reminder in Ron Borges’ own words:

“Free agent Tedy Bruschi is a good guy wandering in a wilderness he doesn’t seem to quite fathomÂ… So, if he’s smart, he’ll grab what he can today.”

Who’s wandering in the wilderness now, Ron?

(As this is the internet, and not a major newspaper, I actually welcome any suggested corrections to my math or logic).

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