Kraft: Brady extension is a 'real deal'

Kraft: Brady extension is a 'real deal'
March 4, 2013, 11:45 am
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft delved into the motivations and dynamics behind Tom Brady's recent contract extension in Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback piece.

The deal, first reported last Monday by King, spawned controversy as critics looked for the devil in the details of a contract that will pay Brady $27 million from 2015-2017 - tens of millions less than he could likely command.

A cudgel to be used by management against Brady's teammates? A sellout deal that drives down the asking prices of other elite quarterbacks? A grab at positive PR? A smoke-and-mirrors deal that will be torn up before Brady even plays for a cut rate? A ruse that covers up a wink-nod deal between Kraft and Brady that kicks in after Brady retires? A deal that Brady would never deign to do if he weren't wedded to one of the world's most financially successful women?

It all got slapped out there and Kraft was anxious to speak with King and have his thinking presented to a national audience.

The structure for the deal was worked out between owner and quarterback during a cross-country flight to LA in late January. One motivation, Kraft said, was not wanting Brady to retire in another city as so many other icons have. The other motivation was keeping Brady from consuming too much cap space.

Kraft said that there will be no renegotiation for fair-market salary in 2015-17.

"This is a real deal," he told King. "Look at our track record. We don't do fake deals. The contract we have with Tom Brady is a real contract we will both live by."

It's a unique deal, no doubt. And you'd be hard-pressed to find another quarterback who'd ever agree to play for one-third of his projected earning potential. But Kraft has now walked out on the limb and stated categorically that there will be no renegotiation.

To me, that's a helluva corner Brady's been backed into with this public declaration by Kraft. Especially if the Patriots win a championship or two between now and 2017 and the organization maximizes every bit of revenue as they surely will if that comes to pass and the quarterback is still playing for a third of what Joe Flacco makes.

One of the reasons the public backlash against the Patriots is so profound is the air of superiority - perceived and actual - the team carries.

And the self-congratulations. Not from Brady or Bill Belichick that brings it on. It's from Kraft.

For instance, the owner tells King, "I wanted to do something elegant that would work for everybody."

Ugghhhh. Elegant.

And, when King presents Kraft with the scenario that the Patriots will ultimately redo Brady and the benevolence will have been a ruse?

"These people don't know the relationship between Tommy and this team,'' Kraft said. "Maybe they hate the Patriots, or they're jealous."

The Patriots have had a happy confluence of circumstances since 2000. Kraft hired Belichick. Belichick hired Brady. Three men together with varied motivations but a shared motivation to become the best there's ever been - and the means to achieve it - hooked up.

It's been historic. But let others throw the rose petals on your heads. Don't toss them up in the air yourselves and run under them.