New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a team player in every sense of the word, and his decision to pass up on all leverage to sign a three-year extension with the Patriots was the ultimate team-player move. Brady could have made considerably more money, but he will instead make $27 million for those three seasons which is well below his market value.
Brady is, more or less, a Patriot-for-life, and that was something we could only say “in name” rather than, well, “in fact”. But with this deal, Brady has shown that he is going to be with the New England Patriots for as long as he plays the game. And really, that’s the way it should be.
By the way, this was a huge “You guys are idiots” statement to the people who thought the Patriots would trade Tom Brady.
But the biggest statement that this deal makes is towards Wes Welker, and it seems to me like there’s this unspoken “Your turn” regarding Welker. We were all reminded that it was Welker who was disappointed that Asante Samuel took money over championships to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles after Samuel told Welker to “chase the paper”.
You know who isn’t “chasing paper”? Tom Brady. He’s busy chasing championships. However, we must keep in mind that Tom Brady and Wes Welker are in two different positions. First off, Brady has made considerably more money throughout his career. Secondly, Brady’s wife makes a ridiculous some of money as well.
The message, though, remains the same. Wes Welker’s quarterback showed that he is willing to receive less money for the good of the team. In fact, it can be said that he is willing to take less money to help out Welker and the other impending free agents on the Patriots. Now, it is up to Welker to show that he values Brady’s move and gets something done with the Patriots that is favorable for the team as well. Even though I wouldn’t be upset with Welker for taking a final pay day, I’m sure many fans will see him in a different light if he “chased the paper”.
The argument that Welker can’t produce with another team is a poor one. The argument that Welker can’t win as easily with another team or build a legacy is a good one, especially when it involves the word “legacy”. Brady has already built his, and his decision to make that deal entrenched it.
Welker, it’s your turn. Are you going to stay with your quarterback, who has targeted you throughout thick and thin? Or are you going to leave him hanging after he took this cheaper deal to help out the team? It’s your move. I know I’ll stand by Welker no matter what he chooses, but there is still honor in doing what Brady did. Just talk to any fan of the New England Patriots, and they will tell you just how much more they love and respect Brady after this. Heck, even New York Jets fans will consent to that.
Oh, and Brady’s deal sends a message to Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco. If you want to be a true franchise QB, then you have to be willing to make sacrifices to help the team. Flacco is in a position to take a little less money to help keep some key receivers on the team, and it will be interesting to see if he takes the noble side. Athletes are entitled to getting as much money as possible due to the uncertainty of the game, but it is special to see a guy like Tom Brady take $12 million a year instead of $20 million (that is how much he will be paid for the next five years).
Let’s just say, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wes Welker and the Pats are now discussing a long-term deal.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.