FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have had "no substantial talks" about a contract extension, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Brady is entering the final season of his $60 million, six-year contract. Despite the claims of team owner Robert Kraft, who said Brady will be a part of his organization for a long time to come, it sounds like there is little reason to believe a deal will be worked out in the near future.
It would be, in no underestimation, semi-disastrous for the Patriots if they don’t extend Brady's contract before the start of the 2010 regular season. After everything Brady has done for this organization, it would truly be inexcusable to let this issue linger overhead during the season.
Even if Brady can play through that type of pressure — and really, there's no reason to believe he couldn’t — he would get asked every Wednesday during his weekly media session, and his teammates would hear about it on a daily basis.
Brady's got the credentials to earn first-class treatment in contract talks. He's got three Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVP trophies and one league MVP. His last deal was well below market value, dwarfed by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's $99.2 million, seven year deal that he signed in 2004. And every bit as important, Brady has been the pristine face of the franchise for the last decade, and his popularity grew just in time for the Patriots to build a new stadium.
Cut and dry, Brady has helped make Kraft more money than he could swim in, and it's shocking — if this report is true — that the two sides aren’t knee deep in contract negotiations. Brady declined comment for the Yahoo! report, and he also chose not to speak with the media Wednesday after the Patriots practice, which concluded about an hour and a half before the story was posted.
Brady turns 33 in August, so he figures to only have one more big-money contract in front of him. From the Patriots' perspective, though, they're looking at a looming lockout that could wash away the 2011 season. In that event, Brady's first season of a new deal wouldn’t start until 2012, when he is 35 years old. If he signs, say, a five-year extension, he'd be under contract until he's 39. Even though there might not be a drastic difference between 38 and 39, you can at least understand where the Patriots might be coming from on that front.
It would be in the Patriots' best interests to get a deal done as soon as possible for another reason. Manning is entering the last year of his deal, and Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters in February that Manning would sign "the biggest [contract] in history."
Brady took the home-town discount in 2005, but there's no guarantee he'll do it again. If he enters the free market, a team somewhere will pony up with Manning cash, and the Patriots will look like a fly on a windshield.
Bottom line, this isn't a complicated proposition. Brady is the best player in the organization's history, and many already believe he is one of the three to five best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. It's time for Kraft to let Brady walk to the vault and pick up a lump of cash so he can just worry about playing football.
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