Bradford breaks the $50 million barrier


So the numbers I’ve got on the Sam Bradford deal, from a league source, look like some of the others you’re seeing out there: Six years, $86 million, $50 million guaranteed. That’s a hike of almost 20 percent in both guarantees and total money over what last year’s No. 1, Matthew Stafford got.

This would qualify as news to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Manning’s got the same agents, in Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, that Bradford has, so there’s no question he knows the score. And if there’s one thing you could glean from some of the cryptic talk from Brady this morning, it’s most clear that he’s got a good understanding of the business aspect of his football career, and this rookie’s deal plays into that.

So what exactly does this deal do for Tom and Peyton? More than anything, it could signify a market change. That number — $50 million — had been bandied about plenty. But it hadn’t been reached (in guaranteed money) in any NFL deal up until this point. Now it has.

To be clear, this doesn’t necessarily mean Brady or Manning will hit that number. Eli Manning and Philip Rivers signed extensions after Stafford last year, and both fell just shy of the Lion’s guaranteed money.

But it does mean that the meter has moved and the standard has changed, something that former agent and Packers salary cap guru Andrew Brandt (who wrote a two-part series on the big QB contracts) pointed out tonight. Brady got his two cents in this morning. And Robert Kraft talked yesterday to our sister publication, the New York Times, and spoke with a little more certainty. He is, after all, the boss.

“He’s going to be here,” Kraft said. “I love the guy. We’re so lucky to have him. I have an emotional
attachment because I remember him coming in as the fourth quarterback,
being a skinny beanpole of a kid.”

That skinny beanpole of a kid? He was older then than Bradford is now. Which makes tonight’s developments all the more incredible.


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