The New England Patriots gave quarterback and all-around dreamboat Tom Brady a three-year contract extension on Monday, which will keep him with the team until 2017. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was probably not amused.
Why the hell would he care? The grossly-underpaid (by market standards, certainly not yours and mine) Rodgers has two years left on his deal, but is in line for an extension of his own. And after what Brady just did, Rodgers probably lost some leverage.
That’s because Brady actually worked his deal to give his club some salary cap relief. That’s also very unlike what Drew Brees did last season when he held the New Orleans Saints hostage for an average of $20 per season. It’s also unlike what the totally mediocre Joe Flacco is about to do to the Baltimore Ravens.
Brady took less money than he could have demanded in order to keep his team competitive.
You read that right. An athlete actually turned down money in order to help his team in the name of “remaining competitive.” Like, “I just want to win, bro!”
When in the hell have you ever heard of such a thing? Surely not from Brees, who threatened to hold out. Definitely not from Flacco, who wants Brees money even though he’s nowhere even near the talent neighborhood. Certainly not from Greg Jennings who wants — get this — $14 million per season.
Football players pretend they give a shit about winning, but in actuality, they only give a shit about themselves.
[Insert obligatory Brett Favre reference here.]
So what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, except the hypocritical way most of these guys go about it.
So here’s what Brady did.
His extension is for $27 million over three years. That’s new money and it breaks down like this, according to Peter King — a $3 million signing bonus immediately and salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017.
The great part for the Patriots is the deal allows them to save $15 million in cap space over the next two seasons. Brady’s cap number never increases to more than $15 million in any season under the deal.
Surely Brady could have gotten the $20 million a year paycheck if he wanted it. Instead, he chose to give his team the ability to sign other players. Had he not done this, we’d be sitting here talking about Rodgers’ future new deal averaging north of $20 million a year.
We’ll finish deifying Brady later, though.
Rodgers may still get the next biggest contract in league history, but it will severely limit the Packers future financial flexibility if it happens. However, now the Packers have the shining example of Tom Brady and can say, “Hey, we can be competitive and win more games if one-fifth of our salary cap isn’t committed to you every year.”
In some ways, you could argue Rodgers is already doing the Packers that favor. His deal averages just $10.5 million and he hasn’t complained about it once. In fact, he’s publicly stated he’s not worried about his contract.
Will he be as passive about it when it’s time to cash in? Will he care about staying competitive when he sees dicks like Flacco getting overpaid?
Only if he really cares about winning.