Yesterday Tom Brady was asked by the local media to talk about some of the contracts recently given out around the league, specifically to fellow quarterbacks Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, as well as about his own situation.
Here is how Brady actually answered the first question:
Q: How do you see big contracts like Eli Manning’s affecting you in the future?
TB: I think it’s great. It’s great for those players. They’ve worked hard to deserve those. Any time a guy gets a contract, it’s a pretty cool thing. I’ve had that experience a couple times. It really shows the health of the league. It shows that the league has grown in places like London, into Mexico, up in Canada. There’s a lot of coverage and people enjoy watching the games so I’m happy to be a part of it. The league’s expanding and growing and hopefully I’ll be able to participate for as long as somebody else wants me. Those contract things always work themselves out one way or another. So I think the important part this time of year is to focus on the most important priority, which is having a great season. I’m committed to that and I know my teammates are committed to that. Hopefully, if we all go out and play well, we’ll all be playing for a long time.
Did you see anything controversial in those comments? Karen Guregian in the Boston Herald today, states that Brady’s comments were “so interesting.” From the above statement, Guregian says: Although that may not sound like much, Brady was essentially sending out a message. He knows there’s money out there because the league is prospering and teams are handing it out to players in large sums, so that shouldn’t be a problem when it’s his turn.
Really? Is that what you got out of it? Essentially sending out a message? Because I didn’t. Guregian, normally not subject to this type of idle speculation, infers something of a threat from Brady’s words. I took Brady’s comments more to mean that he feels fortunate to be part of an industry that is still thriving and viable.
On the new WBZ-FM, the radio flagship home of the Patriots, midday host Gary Tanguay also jumped on the “threat” angle. It was angry, painful radio.
Then two questions later Brady was asked a follow up:
Q: On the contract issue, if they were to come to you to discuss a contract, would you really say ‘No, let’s talk about it after the season. I want to focus on football now’?
TB: If someone wants to pay you more money? I mean, I think we’re all probably underpaid, don’t you think? I mean, we all wish we were paid more, but that’s not the reality. We’re focused on this. I’m focused on this year. I’ve thought about it and I just want to go out and have a great year. Believe me, nothing is guaranteed; that’s what I learned last year. You don’t know if you’ll be out here next week or the following week so I think the most important thing is to focus on this week and the more prepared you are for this week, the less chance you’ll have to play poorly or to have an injury. If we have goals to have a great season, we’re going to need to be on the field playing and getting better.
Those two questions and answers were the only statements made by Brady on contracts. I’m still not seeing the threats.
But Guregian closes her column in the Herald today with these ominous words: If Brady is his normal self, he will cash in on another huge payday. The question is, will it be here or somewhere else?
Where anywhere is it implied that Brady is going to look for the largest contract he can get, even if it turns out to be elsewhere? A far more reasonable take is given by Christopher L. Gasper in The Boston Globe, who makes the following statements in his piece on the situation:
Brady measures his career in more than money. Based on the history that he and his agent, Don Yee, have when it comes to contracts, they’ll consider the deals the other members of the QB club signed as guidelines, but they won’t be a road map.
When contacted yesterday, Yee declined comment.
You can’t put a dollar value on the joy of winning or leaving a legacy. For Brady, the two are intertwined – his 101-27 overall record is the best during the Super Bowl era for any quarterback with at least 100 starts.
Brady’s next contract will likely be his last. There is no wing in the Hall of Fame for highest-paid players.
That is what seems to drive Brady and keep him with the Patriots.
You probably can’t put a price tag on Brady’s worth to the team and vice versa. Kraft has remained adamant that the sides will work out a deal because they always have.
Doesn’t that seem like a much more reasonable take on the situation and the comments? Christopher Price also has a calm take on the situation.
Brady’s comments were also naturally taken way out of context by the show following Tanguay’s on WBZ-FM, hosted by Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti.
It’s ironic that competitor WEEI (who hold the Red Sox rights) spends so much time praising and speaking positively of the Patriots, while thus far, WBZ-FM (which has the Patriots broadcasts) has been very negative and critical of the team. Yesterday, as noted, Gary Tanguay construed Brady’s comments as a threat, while Felger and Massarotti took the contract comments as an opening to spend four hours bashing the Patriots.
F&M made sure to interlace their Patriots bashing every so often with comments like “They’re still the team of the decade” and “I’m picking them to win the Super Bowl this season” but the majority of their time was spent making statements such as the following:
“THE TEAM SCREWED BRADY WHEN HE SIGNED HIS LAST CONTRACT BY GIVING HIM RECHE CALDWELL AND DOUG GABRIEL AS RECEIVERS!!!”
This was Felger shouting this, and after every time he said it, he stated that Brady might remember this when it came time to get a new contract. When a caller tried to point out that the Patriots then gave Brady the most talented receiver in the game a year later in Randy Moss, it was dismissed with Felger stating that Brady would still remember that they wasted a prime year of his career with Caldwell and Gabriel, and that somehow this would be a factor when his contract comes up after next season.
This led into a whole session of shouted statements from the duo, such as:
“IF THEY’RE SO GOOD AT PUTTING A TEAM AROUND BRADY WHY DID THEY FINISH 31ST IN NEARLY EVERY DEFENSIVE STAT LAST SEASON???”
“THEY’RE NOT GREAT AT ASSEMBLING PERSONNEL…THEY’RE JUST LUCKY THEY’VE HAD THE BEST QB AND COACH THIS DECADE!!!!”
and a few times:
“THE OTHER STATION HAS TOLD YOUR FOR YEARS THAT THE COLTS AND JETS WOULD BE IN CAP HELL BECAUSE OF THE DEALS THEY’VE DONE….THEY’RE NOT!!!!”
Felger stated a number of times how the Colts have won a Super Bowl more recently than the the Patriots, and were in the playoffs every year, while the Patriots didn’t even make the playoffs last season. A statement that, considering how Felger had just finished stating how the team only won because they had Brady and Belichick, seems silly when Brady missed just about the entire season and the Patriots still went 11-5, becoming only the second team ever to have that record and not make the postseason.
and Massarotti chimed in with: “THE PATRIOTS AND THEIR FANS THINK ALL THEIR COMPETITION IS JUST DUMBER THEN THEY ARE!!!!”
Some of us chimed for years about wanting a viable second sports radio station in town. I’m beginning to re-think that wish. Maybe we shouldn’t be rooting for the demise of the Globe, either.
Wow, WEEI and The Boston Globe as the voices of reason for Patriots fans?