Tom Brady's three-year, $27 million contract extension has been praised as being extraordinarily team-friendly. It's also been accused of being phony, as in the Patriots must have some kind of agreement under the table to pay Brady more than the $7 million due in his final season. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the league must be making more, right?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft answered those questions, telling Sports Illustrated's Peter King that the deal is legitimate.
"No, no, no,'' Kraft told SI. "This is a real deal. 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."
Kraft said the deal was something he'd been thinking about for three or four years, and that he was motivated as a fan of Brady's not to see his quarterback finish his career somewhere else.
"I was just trying to stay ahead of the curve," said Kraft. "If we were going to have to pay him elite-quarterback money and have elite-quarterback cap numbers, I just didn't think we would be able to build a team. We don't want to have a team where we're paying 18 to 20 percent to a player on the cap. I wanted to do something elegant that would work for everybody. I had been talking to him off and on for maybe 18 months, about how I wanted him to finish his career here, and about how we both have to be smart about it. I just really want him to end his career a Patriot.''
The owner and the player brokered the framework of the deal on a six-hour plane ride, Kraft told King.
"I credit Tom for doing the right thing and thinking outside the box," said Kraft. "That's what we're trying to do as an organization, and certainly what Bill Belichick tries to do as a coach. If you don't have a good coach and a quarterback, you don't have much of a chance to win. We are fortunate that we have both who are way above par. Tom is everything that we want."