There’s been a buzz around the sporting news world about a story posted by Michael Silver from Yahoo! Sports where he suggests that there is a “growing disconnect” between QB Tom Brady and the Patriots organization over Brady’s expiring contract. Here’s a piece from the story:
“Make no mistake – there has been a cool distance between Brady, who turns 33 in August, and the organization over the past few months, and not just of the physical variety.
Entering the final year of the $60 million contract he signed before the 2005 season, Brady would seem to be in line for a lucrative extension that would make him one of the league’s highest-paid players. Yet three months before the start of the 2010 campaign, and less than two months before training camp, there have been no substantial talks between his agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats’ front office, and there’s a growing sense of disconnect between the two camps.”
Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft has stated numerous times this offseason that Brady is in the Patriots’ long-term plans and Kraft always has nothing but glowing praise for his three-time-Super-Bowl-winning QB. Recognizing this, and after painting a frightening picture for Pats fans in the bulk of his story, Silver adds this near the end:
“Brady and Kraft have a strong relationship and a mutual appreciation for one another’s contributions toward the franchise’s decade-long run as the NFL’s most successful franchise. And even though there’s no guarantee that teams will still be allowed to retain the rights of at least one unrestricted free agent via the “franchise” tag once the current CBA expires, it’s hard to imagine Kraft, one of the league’s most powerful owners, signing off on a deal that could expose him to the departure of his best player.
Chances are, Brady will remain with the Pats long past 2010, and this will go down as a business-driven blip in their relationship.”
Abert Breer throws some water on the Brady contract fire in a piece on The Globe’s Patriots blog. Breer summarizes the situation like this:
“When’s the time to worry? Well, if you get through training camp, and there’s still no deal, that should certainly raise some eyebrows, particularly if Manning’s done when most expect (sometime in June or July). But, as we noted, even then, the Patriots have some modicum of control. The doomsday scenario here is that a new CBA is struck in March, and the franchise tag becomes a thing of the past, and Brady doesn’t have a new deal at that point. That, of course, still seems highly unlikely now. What you seem to have at this point is two sides that see things differently. And plenty of time to bridge the gap.”
Not all analysts think that the situation may end well for the Pats and Tom Brady. Michael Wilbon on ESPN’s PTI program discussed the situation with co-host Tony Kornhieser and brought up other franchise quarterbacks who didn’t end their career with the team they started with, such as Joe Montana and Joe Namath. I can’t say that I’m surprised that someone from ESPN would drum up a story such as this.
This story, in my opinion, is not a story at all and merely an attempt to create something to talk about during the June lulls in NFL news. Silver points to the fact that Brady has spent most of his time in the offseason working out in LA instead of in Foxborough with the team. This is not uncommon for players from other states with families (Rodney Harrison comes to mind). Bob Kraft has not expressed concern over this, so to say that the organization wants assurances that Brady will spend more time in Foxborough in the offseason sounds fishy. It is also common knowledge to those that have been following the situation all offseason that the Pats are waiting to see what Peyton Manning gets in his new contract with the Indianapolis Colts before getting into serious discussions with Brady. They are basically waiting for the market to be set before doing numbers with their franchise quarterback. This is not an uncommon practice with this organization. Brady participated in practice yesterday and was very vocal on the field, showing his strong leadership. I don’t think that Patriots’ fans have anything to worry about.