NEW YORK — The latest contract work between Tom Brady and the New England Patriots probably will rankle National Football League players and the people who cut their deals, according to agent Brad Blank.
“They’re not going to be happy about it,” said Blank, whose clients have included NFL players D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Canty and Tedy Bruschi. “As a human being, as a teammate, as somebody who likes the Patriots, as somebody who likes Tom Brady, you admire it. In the agent community, I don’t think it’s going to go over really well.”
Sports Illustrated reported two days ago on its website that Brady, 35, who has two seasons remaining on his current contract, agreed on a three-year, $27 million extension that will keep him in New England until 2017, when he will be 40. It will pay him a $3 million signing bonus immediately and salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017, the magazine said.
The deal will bring $15 million of salary cap relief for New England as it works to sign free agents such as wide receiver Wes Welker, SI.com reported. It also means Brady, a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player, will forgo about $33 million he could have made when compared to quarterback peers such as Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, Blank said.
“He gave up a lot,” Blank said in a telephone interview. “The top quarterbacks are getting about $20 million a year now, and they’re getting as much guaranteed as Tom got.”
An email seeking comment from Donald Yee, Brady’s agent, wasn’t immediately returned. The Patriots also haven’t commented on reports of the extension, with team spokesman Stacey James declining to comment two days ago in an email.
Since the deal was reported, other news organizations have revealed what they say are its details. Before the extension, Brady was guaranteed $30 million and now is guaranteed $57 million should he sustain a career-ending injury, ESPN reported.
“Guarantees are great but almost irrelevant to Tom Brady,” Blank said, pointing out that Brady, a two-time Super Bowl MVP who threw 34 touchdown passes and eight interceptions last season, has plenty of job security with the Patriots.
Blank said Brady’s deal might have a “chilling effect on the market,” and that it would lower the franchise tag value for other quarterbacks seeking new deals. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, who led the Ravens to a Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers this month, is among those in negotiations.
Joe Linta, Flacco’s agent, said the Brady package would have “no impact whatsoever on what we’re doing,” according to USA Today.
“The bottom line is, whether Brady took a pay cut or took $27 million a year, it wouldn’t have an impact on what we’re doing,” Linta said, according to the newspaper. “We’ve determined a number that we think is fair with respect for the Ravens’ cap situation.”
George Atallah, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association, said in an email that the union doesn’t have a position or an opinion on individual player deals.
The Major League Baseball players’ union has intervened in the past when a player was willing to take less than he had been contracted to get. Alex Rodriguez was set to be traded to the Boston Red Sox from the Texas Rangers following the 2003 season. The deal was scuttled by the union because it lowered the annual value of his deal to $20 million from $27 million.
Brady, whose $22.5 million in salary and endorsements ranked 26th among U.S. athletes last year, according to Sports Illustrated, has more financial flexibility than many of his peers because of his marriage to Gisele Bundchen. The supermodel earned $45 million from May 2011 to May 2012, according to Forbes.
Still, it’s an uncommon gesture for any professional athlete to leave money on the table, Blank said.
“As someone who knows Tom Brady personally, I’m always kind of in awe of the way he conducts himself,” Blank said. “It’s very admirable what he did. It’s just so counterintuitive to the animal that is the players and agents.”