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Friday, March 1, 2013

Tom Brady, Everybody's All-American

There are few things worse than turning on ESPN the morning after Tom Brady has done something good. Well, other than turning on ESPN the day after the Ravens win the Super Bowl.

I was swamped Tuesday morning with all the discussion of the benevolent, team-only, All-American Brady. I mean, who else would be so wonderful as to give up money in order to give their team help with the salary cap? Only the golden boy with the Bieber Fever locks would do such a thing! It’s the “Patriot Way.”

This is the image of the "Patriot Way" that most players and fans prefer

Great. One MORE reason for the media to slobber all over Brady and the Patriots. Still, let’s slow up a little here and deal with the facts.

Brady didn’t “give up” any money. Brady extended his contract for a lower salary on the back end in exchange for getting his money now and giving the Patriots some cap relief. He is still due to make the same amount of money.

The risk for Brady is that this makes it easier for the Patriots to cut later in his career if his play declines. But it really won’t matter because he’ll already have his money.

And before we start worrying about his ability to make rent this month, keep in mind that his wife makes a little cash at the boutique on the weekends. Something in the neighborhood of 100 million or so.

Yes, this is a good thing for Brady, who gets to keep a solid offensive line and Wes Welker. It’s a good thing for the Patriots, who may get to sign some additional players to help Brady. But he isn’t St. Francis or Mother Theresa by any stretch of the imagination.

NFL teams will try to use this to keep salaries down for their free agents (see Flacco, Joe). But most players don’t have a wife who is raking it in, and therefore don’t have the luxury of leaving money on the table.

And I don’t blame them a bit for seeking every dollar now rather than later, because it can all be gone in a split second. There isn’t an NFL team out there that won’t cut you the minute that you are of no use anymore. Players have no choice but to strike while the iron is hot.

Brady gave up very little, and he had a lot of collateral that other NFL players don’t have. Good for him. It’s perfectly within his rights. But you shouldn’t criticize your team’s stars if they don’t follow suit. 

They’ve got a lot more at risk than Brady. And I suspect that's one more reason that players will feel the same way that Terrell Suggs does about All-American Brady and the Patriots.

(Not to leave out some fan perspective: Here's a fun blog to sum up the fans' feel for the Patriots.)

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