Just typing that title makes me want throw up the delicious BBQ ribs I had for dinner tonight. On NFL Network’s flagship program, NFL Total Access, analysts Jamie Dukes and Charles Davis, along with host Fran Charles, discussed whether Tom Brady should actually get a 5-year deal from the Patriots (click here for the video). Issues brought up by Charles Davis and Jamie Dukes were Brady’s recent injuries, including the knee injury that kept him out of the 2008 season and the broken ribs and broken finger injuries he played through last season. They also brought up the fact that he will be 33 years old soon. What this boils down to, in my opinion, is that they are debating whether Tom Brady is worth a 5-year contract. The answer to that for any sane person is an emphatic YES. Let me explain for those that may have accidentally stuck a Q-Tip too far into their ear.
The age thing irks me to no end. Brett “Father Time” Favre is playing, pretty successfully (hated typing that), into his 40′s. Brady will still be 7 seasons away from that once he turns 33 (40 – 33 = 7, Jamie Dukes). True, Favre is an anomaly, but there are plenty of quarterbacks who have successfully played, and are still playing, into their 30′s. Many tend to forget that despite missing a full season due to a knee injury, Brady had the second-best season of his career this past season. He threw for 4,398 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, good for a 96.2 QB rating. I will not even let someone bring up the age factor (even though it’s a non-factor) until they do so as well for Peyton Manning. Manning is 35, 2 years older than Brady (35 – 33 = 2 Mr. Dukes), yet I have NEVER heard ANYONE bring up his age when talking about a new contract. It’s just a forgone conclusion that he will get a new long-term mega-deal, which is perfectly fine. He deserves it and age is not a factor with him either (here comes that puke again). If there is an age standard, it should apply to everyone, no?
The next major contention brought up are the injuries. Brady returned pretty successfully from his knee injury, and if what is said that you get back to 100% 2 years removed from the injury is true, Brady will be even better this year. The fact that TB suffered 3 broken ribs and a broken index finger last season and played through those injuries is more of a feather in the cap than a detractor. In a season where the commitment of some players was in question in the locker room, Brady showed his commitment by playing through those injuries. The fact that Brady had those injuries was long-rumored but never fully disclosed or admitted by Tom. He didn’t want to look like he was using injuries as an excuse for a less-than-Brady-like game. Why? That’s what leaders do, and Tom is an unquestioned leader in the New England locker room. What about all of the injuries Favre has played through, earning him a “tough guy” reputation? Does that not also apply in this situation? Peyton has had surgery the past two offseasons, most recently on his neck, yet there are no concerns there. The reason being is that there is no reason for concern, nor is there reason here with Brady.
Davis and Dukes mention that a 2- or 3-year deal might be what the Patriots organization is thinking in terms of a new Brady contract. That is absurd, and I wouldn’t blame Tom for saying, “No thanks,” if that were true. Brady has taken deals much less than he could have gotten on the open market, and he deserves whatever he asks for. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a deal less than what he would have gotten had he become a free agent after this season. That’s just the kind of player he has been, yet I wouldn’t hold it against him if at this point he looks to cash in on what is likely the last deal of his career. Dukes and Davis also mention Brady playing on franchise tags year after year. I don’t think that is a feasible option, nor would Brady continuously play on franchise tags.
What this amounts to, like all of the B.S. stories about Brady this offseason, is that analysts need to fill air time and need a marquee name for people to pay attention to. “Favre Watch” isn’t as exciting anymore because it is a forgone conclusion that he will come back and play, and we know what team that will be with. Peyton Manning is too popular to poo-poo on due to his celebrity. That leaves Tom, who is in the exact same position as Manning. In both cases, it has been made pretty plainly known from the respective front offices that each QB will receive a new long-term deal. To question either is foolishness until free agency starts next season. If either actually becomes a free agent, then it’s time for the headlines.