For the second time in his career, Brady has restructured his contract with the New England Patriots in a manner beneficial to the team, not the player. The restructuring is dramatic in terms of numerical value, and means primarily that the Patriots have all sorts of ‘wiggle room’ to play with in terms of keeping players (Welker, for example) or bringing in new free agents.
Let’s immediately swat the nay-sayers out of the argument. Sure, Brady can physically afford to take a pay cut. However, he did it. He put his money where his mouth was. In this day and age, how often do professional athletes actually give out hometown discounts? Put simply, they don’t. it is very rare. Look around you, Justin Verlander is demanding to be paid over $200 million. No hometown discount for Detroit. Dwight Howard certainly didn’t offer Orlando a hometown discount. Joe Flacco is looking for mega bucks from the Ravens, absolutely no sign of a hometown discount there.
It is very, very rare that a professional athlete does what’s best for the team when it comes to finances. So, don’t bother with the usual stale, tired and erroneous argument that ‘Brady can afford to’ take a pay cut.
The proof is in the figures and the action. Whilst others talk a great game, Brady delivers. Remember, this is the second time he has done this. His comments in 2005 after a similar restructuring could very well be from the here and now they are so relevant;
"To be the highest-paid, or anything like that, is not going to make me feel any better. That's not what makes me happy. In this game, the more one player gets, the more he takes away from what others can get. Is it going to make me feel any better to make an extra million, which, after taxes, is about $500,000? That million might be more important to the team.''
The ramifications of this pay drop for Brady, and the subsequent extra cash-money for the Patriots payroll are manifold.
First and foremost, the Patriots now have serious extra cash to re-sign players like Wes Welker. Second, they can go out and grab some key free agents, perhaps for that porous, much maligned secondary. Third, this extension probably makes Brady a Patriot for life, locking him up until he is 40 years old. Finally, Brady sends a signal to the rest of the locker-room that in New England, it is team first, player second. In taking this pay cut Brady has put his ego to one side (Something Verlander, Howard and Flacco, for example, can’t or won’t do) and put the team first. He is a shining example of leadership to both the young and the veteran players in the Patriots locker room.
One final thing this classy, selfless act does is drive home how badly New England is going to miss Brady, when he finally hangs up those cleats. Only the most obnoxious of negative haters would argue, when the made Brady, they broke the mould.
Enjoy him while he is around, the Patriots will probably never see anyone as good as him, on and off the field, behind center again.
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