New England Patriots on Paper: Black Ops?

Deep in the bowels of Gillette Stadium, Robert Kraft waits in a shadowy corner for Tom Brady to arrive – both wearing trench coats and dark sunglasses, a fine leather breifcase dangling from Kraft’s gloved hand…

The Patriots are known to be a secretive bunch, and Bill Belichick has been known to engage in covert activities – so any move that the team makes is going to be met with skepticism and paranoia…such is the tangled web the Patriots have woven for themselves…

…so when news emerged that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had signed a new extension that literally pays him less than half of the going rate for a player of his stature and tenure, conspiracy theorists crawled out of their holes like zombies, proclaiming dark malfeasance.

There absolutely has to be a handshake deal going on here, they say, like a briefcase full of laundered cash, because there’s no way that a man that could command the highest salary in the NFL is going to settle for the deal he just signed without there being something dark on the side.

That’s just the way our world is.  No one takes a hit in the wallet like that – but isn’t it just possible that Brady is doing a solid for his team and his teammates and giving Bill Belichick what amounts to Carte Blanche when shopping for free agents?  Does there really have to be a secret deal?

According to documentation, Brady’s deal includes a $30 million signing bonus that will come in four seperate payments (not in a brown paper bag) that extends through 2015, starting with a $10 million payment as soon as he signs the extension.

Under the old contract, he was scheduled to make roughly $10 million in each of the next two seasons, but under the new extension, his salary is $1 million for 2013 and $2 million for 2014, plus two more bonus checks of $5 and $10 million during the 2014 season.

Blah, blah, blah; money, money, money…

Enough about money.  All that is left to ponder is what the Patriots are going to do with the extra cap space.  For certain, they will try to resign what they’ve already had, but the resturcturing of Brady’s deal does far more than give the team extra cap space – it gives them leverage in negotiations.

Many teams are in the process of releasing good players, the result of overspending and backloading deals.  Smart teams like the Patriots who will not overpay are circling these teams like vultures waiting for the teams to throw out the meat that they can no longer afford, and the number of carcasses waiting to be consumed is staggering – and will drive down the asking prices in free agency…

…and now suddenly here sits Bill Belichick with what was already one of the best teams in the NFL and now with a bag full of cash and what promises to be top shelf talent thrown into the bargain bin - and for a leverage junkie like the enigmatic head coach, he’s going to be like a kid in a candy store.

Tags: New England Patriots NFL Tom Brady

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