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No Big Deal: Patriots-Tom Brady Deal Shouldn't Impress Anyone

I devote comparatively little time thinking about Tom Brady.

Except when his life intersects with the Colts for some reason, I happily ignore him these days.

However, this week he signed a contract extension making him the highest paid player in the NFL. (Make sure to read that link, the first paragraph is hilarious).

A couple of things struck me about this deal:

  • The guarantee (always the first and ONLY number that matters in NFL deals) is $48.5 million. That's a lot, but is curiously less than what Sam Bradford just took home.
  • It's short. This doesn't make Brady a Patriot for life. In fact, it is going to leave the door open for some really uncomfortable negotiations down the road.
  • It doesn't push the envelope much for Manning's deal much at all.

One reader asked me to comment on why Brady took such relatively modest extension. I know it sounds funny to call that much money 'modest', but when a rookie who has never played gets more guaranteed money (over six years, not four, but still) it makes you wonder.

This deal gives Brady roughly $12 million guaranteed a year plus salary. The interesting thing about Peyton Manning's then record $99 million deal is that Manning was making around $7 million guaranteed per season, with high salaries. For instance, he's making $15 million in salary. What's 'ground breaking' about Brady's deal is the amount of guaranteed money he's getting each season.

Brady was in a precarious position with the Pats. Though he's a year younger than Manning, he has already had a season ending injury. Unlike the Colts, the Pats have a history of cheaping out on players. This is probably a deal that both sides HAD to sign before the Colts dealt with Manning. As it is, Brady gets to save face and be the highest paid player in the game for a short time. The Pats get to save face by signing Brady to a short extension without having to answer questions about why the Colts signed Manning to a five or even six year extension (please, please, please, let it be six!).

My hope for Manning's deal is that it effectively gives us an idea how long his career will last. Sign him through age 40. Let him break all the records he can, and then both sides can part ways as friends. It would let the franchise know when to draft his replacement (in 3-4 years).

Regardless of the details, we can be sure that Manning's deal will pay out more than Brady's.  Brady's deal pays out roughly $18 million a season on average (some years are probably more than others). By comparison, Manning already beats that average this season. Irsay probably breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Brady's deal because on a per season basis, it's not any worse than what he already pays Peyton.


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