"I blame Gisele."
After the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, Mrs. Brady delivered a mini-tirade when a fan provoked her ire taking a few shots at No. 12. Her response became the stuff of legend: "You (have) to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."
Well, Tom Brady can't win a Super Bowl all by himself, but he can sure save a franchise with just a little help from the missus' millions.
The most-recent on-line figures (and we know the internet never lies) peg Gisele BĂĽndchen's net worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million. And she and Tommy have built their own version of Cinderella's castle in O.J.'s old Los Angeles neighborhood. So if you're happy about Brady's restructuring, don't forget to thank Gisele.
Brady has gifted the Patriots an extra $15 million in cap room this season by restructuring his contract, and the deal can be redone at any time.
How great is that for the team? Not only can the Patriots load up on Wes Welker, Aqib Talib, and whomever else they'd like to make a run at (see: Dwight Freeney or a real wide-receiver.)
As of now, the pact guarantees Brady $57 million against injury for five years, opposed to the $30 million over two seasons he was guaranteed before the restructuring.
Brady, in essence, took a potential 50 percent pay cut down the line, settling on an average of $8 million a year over the final three years of the deal. The give-back on Brady's end is that he took himself out of the free-agency market after the 2014 season. There's little doubt that free-agent Tom Brady would have gotten himself $15-20 million a year, even at age 38. So much for the dreams of the Los Angeles Jaguars.
That's the gift to the team that might keep on giving for years and years to come.
Now the Elizabeth Warrens among us might say, "Hey, the guy has his millions, why doesn't he play for $1?" Beyond the sheer foolishness of that sentiment, there were practical reasons for keeping this real numerically. Brady's move has already lowered the franchise tag number for QBs across the league by $800,000. There's no way that any contract restructure that allows a player like Brady to significantly undervalue himself - even taking the league minimum - would be approved by the players' union.
Before he began his one-man "Birther" crusade and career as a TV reality show host, Donald Trump was a successful (and at times unsuccessful) real-estate mogul. His "Art of the Deal" is must-reading for anyone who ever wants to build a business or be successful in selling themselves. Haters, take a deep breath. This isn't a political endorsement one way or another. After all, we're being "untangled" from the Globe and sold by the New York Times.
Trump's image on the cover alone is worth the $7.99 Amazon price tag.
In the book, Trump talks about the "Elements of the Deal." Trump details the importance of staying focused on your ultimate goal - whatever that may be. It's not always making money. Sometimes, organizations, companies or people do things improve their image, give back to others or respond to criticism. Those elements eventually incorporate themselves into the bottom line, but revenue and profits aren't always the top agenda item of the day.
The best deals are the ones that work for both sides. The old "win-win." One of Trump's elements of the deal is: "Protect the Downside and the Upside Will Take Care of Itself."
This was the underlying theme of what Brady did this week. Both he and the Patriots protected their downside. The upside might end with a fourth Super Bowl victory at Met-Life Stadium in New Jersey next February. Think about how sweet that would be - Brady and Bill Belichick hoisting their fourth Lombardi Trophy together with a snowy, dimly-lit Manhattan skyline in the distance. That would be Boston's biggest "F.U." since Alan Embree finished off the Yankees in Game 7 - or Ben Affleck's best-picture win Sunday night.
The fact that Brady and the Patriots were able to manipulate the numbers and preserve most of what Brady would end up making in the long run makes this deal all the better. Take that, salary cap purists. Where is it written that one side has always screw over the other side to make a negotiation successful - even when it's the Kraft family dealing with one of their football players?
Brady stepped forward here an offered to do whatever it took, within reason, to make his team better. Even if he didn't give back millions, his move was significant. Sure, MLB contracts are significantly different than their NFL counterparts, but can you imagine the likes of John Lackey, Josh Beckett or even David Ortiz ever doing anything with their contracts to allow the team to spend more money on other players? Ortiz moaned and groaned - and even hinted about playing for the Yankees before the 2012 season - before the Red Sox gave him $26 million over two years to be a DH this offseason. Not much of a hometown discount there. Beckett was a slob who gave up on himself after getting his last deal with the Red Sox. His post-2007 Red Sox legacy is "pulled backfat." And State Run Media wants us to kiss John Lackey's butt because it not longer looks like Kim Kardashian's butt. A baseball player in shape. Stop the servers! Give me a call when he reaches the sixth inning with a lead. Let's not forget Jacoby "The Clock is Ticking" Ellsbury.
The clock is running on Brady and Belichick and everyone knows it - especially Brady and Belichick.
Somehow, whenever Brady struggles in a game or the Patriots lose because he didn't throw for 400 yards and six touchdowns, Gisele's name surfaces as the root cause for his failures. Since she's been the butt of so many jokes and jabs during her marriage, we'll glady give her props for allowing Tommy to stay out and play with his buddies for a few more years.
But it's not just her net worth. Brady is married with two kids, and has third with Bridget "Blue Bloods" Moynahan. It's impossible to imagine Brady making a move like this without Gisele's OK. He's married to a globe-trotting supermodel from Brazil and spent $20 million for a crib in Brentwood. Brady is not going to commit to a team in Foxborough, Mass., until he's 40 (whether or not he does is another story) without getting wifey's approval. America's Alpha Dog has three Super Bowl rings, a guaranteed bust in Canton, and multiple GQ and SI covers on his resume, in addition to spewing all-around manliness. But he also grew up with three sisters and is quite comfortable in a matriarchal household. In other words, he may be a little whipped, but we're still jealous as hell. To put things in perspective, I've been married 23 years to a divorce attorney and can't get clearance to go to Publix without a shopping list and exact change.
Fans and cynics (damn those cynics) are contorting themselves to find fault or a hidden conspiracy in what Brady did. Perhaps they could enlist the Donald to help them find John Edward Thomas Moynahan's real birth certificate.
It's really not so complicated. The Patriots had no shot of keeping Welker (and possibly Talib) in the fold under the given salary cap structure. Brady wanted Welker on the team - in addition to some desperately needed upgrades on defense - and worked with the Patriots to give them room to do both now. And Brady helping the Patriots free-up cap space now is not good news to the AFC.
The biggest knock on Brady remains the fact that he just can't win that fourth Super Bowl.
Man, he does suck.
In his past five seasons (we're not counting 2008), Brady has walked off the field in two Super Bowls with the lead and less than four minutes to play, despite his lack-luster performance in both games. Then we collectively watched in horror as Eli Manning, David Tyree and Mario Manningham stole our children's sports innocence as the Patriots' defense evaporated. Brady's got to be as sick of watching that as the rest of us, not to mention watching his wife light up the rest of the team on TV.
When the Patriots won their Super Bowls, they did it using a combination of Brady's on-field brilliance and a defense that neither bent nor broke.
Brady helped the Patriots take a huge step toward doing that again this week and trumped the NFL along the way.
With a big assist from Gisele.
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