Brady, McNabb, Manning — and Money
|06.16.09 at 4:39 pm ET|
While football purists might believe that a love for the game is all that sustains the players they adore and admire, it’s wishful thinking to assume that money doesn’t play a significant role too. Once you get past the sentimentality – Favre’s emotional retirement speech, T.O.’s tearful defense of Tony Romo, Rudy – it’s safe to say that a considerable element of football revolves around dollars and cents.
Now money may not buy you or me happiness, but it seems in the NFL it can buy a quarterback’s happiness.
Donovan McNabb, the Eagles’ 33-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback, wasn’t too content at the end of last season with his $19 million contract that runs through 2010. So management gave him a raise upwards of $5 million, and all of a sudden their franchise player is all smiles. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning isn’t too displeased either with the $29 million he’ll be making over the next two years (hopefully his MasterCard bills will be set for life).
But one big name quarterback could soon change his typically team-first attitude when he takes a look at what his counterparts are raking in. In a recent edition of “Monday Morning Quarterback,” SI’s Peter King pointed out that New England’s golden boy Tom Brady is set to make $14.5 million over the next two years, far less than both McNabb and Manning, and even less than former Pats backup Matt Cassel, who’ll make nearly $15 million just next year as the second-highest paid NFL QB in 2009 (as of right now, of course). It’s not like Brady to make a fuss about financial issues, but after years of making sacrifices for the team, it’s not farfetched to imagine he’ll want a little compensation. So far, agent Don Yee has kept quiet.
Problem is, the Pats may not necessarily have the luxury of giving Brady a contract extension to match those of his pigskin-tossing colleagues. Following the 2009 season, the team will have 30 free agent players to negotiate with, according to patscap.com. The most notable of the free agents include Richard Seymour, Ben Watson, Stephen Gostkowski, Tedy Bruschi, and Vince Wilfork – who has recently stipulated his desire for a long-term contract extension. Wilfork is likely looking for something in the neighborhood of the five-year $30 million contract Kris Jenkins received from the Jets last February, rather than the Albert Haynesworth approach of a salary increase for 2009 and a guarantee not to slap him with a franchise tag in 2010.
Bill Belichick and the Pats have always been savvy when it comes to financial matters, often promoting team unity by having one player restructure his contract in order to re-sign a teammate. Brady did it for Randy Moss in 2007, but will someone else return the favor in 2009 or beyond? If not, Brady might just finally become mad as hell and won’t take it anymore.
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