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The Mass Media

2-20-24 PDF
February 20, 2024
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February 12, 2024

It may be time to start thinking about life after Brady

Photo+courtesy+of+Keith+Allison+on+Flickr

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr

Although it’s a difficult topic for Patriots fans to think about, life without Tom Brady under center is a reality that will eventually come. The question remains as to when exactly Brady will retire. Earlier this week when speaking with WEEI, Brady was quoted as saying, “I love playing for this team and I love representing this team and hopefully I can do that for as long as I can. When I suck, I’ll retire. But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time.”
But are the Patriots planning to move on from Brady before his retirement? The Patriots have already begun the process of finding Tom Brady’s replacement. The team drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of this year’s draft, the highest they’ve taken a QB since drafting Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993. Garoppolo impressed many during the preseason, eventually beating out Ryan Mallett in the battle to backup Brady.
Simply drafting a quarterback high doesn’t indicate that the Patriots are looking to replace Brady any time soon. However, Brady’s contract situation is another issue some have pointed to when discussing his future with the Patriots. At the end of the 2012 season, the two sides reached an agreement on a three year extension, which signed him through the 2017 season. With that agreement, Brady would earn a base salary of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016, and $9 million in 2017.
Many analysts have said that they do not expect Brady to play for $7 million in 2015 and that he will be looking to restructure his contract. Brady, who will be thirty-eight by the start of the 2015 season, had one of his worst seasons statistically last year. In 2013, Brady was sacked forty times, the second most in his career, had the second-lowest completion percentage of his career (60.5), and had a passer rating of 87.3, a considerable drop-off from his 98.7 in 2012. Some have speculated that if Brady’s numbers drop off even more than they did in 2013, the Patriots may be more willing to let Brady go rather than restructure his contract.
There are many in the New England fan base that will say that Brady and the Patriots will never part ways. They argue that he is a lifelong Patriot who has given his entire career to the team, and will retire with them, and that there is no chance that Brady leaves: be it through a trade or free agency.
But these fans forget that, as local sports radio show Felger and Mazz pointed out, there are no “sacred cows” with Bill Belichick in charge. Belichick has traded away players who’ve spent most, if not all, of their careers with the Patriots, including Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and, most recently, Logan Mankins. The Patriots have made it clear over the years that there are no players on the roster who are un-tradeable.
Of course, all of this information still doesn’t guarantee that Brady will be gone from the Patriots any time soon; in fact, I personally believe that Brady and the Patriots will be able to reach an agreement on a restructured contract before the beginning of the 2015 season. A similar situation occurred with the Patriots last season.
Multiple sources reported that Vince Wilfork, who missed most of the season with an Achilles injury, had requested his release and wanted to leave New England. Ultimately, the Patriots and Wilfork were able to reach an agreement on a restructured contract. Wilfork, like Brady, is a huge asset to the New England Patriots brand itself and both are very close with owner Robert Kraft. This will play a very big role if and when Brady’s contract renegotiating begins.
Ultimately, Brady’s play in the 2014 season may be the deciding factor in his future with the Patriots. All of the pieces are there for Brady to put up big numbers and for the team to win: a retooled defense, a deeper receiving corps, and a healthy Rob Gronkowski. If Brady’s numbers drop as they did last season, it’s very possible that the team could look to move on from number twelve. If Brady has a monster season, as he is expected to, he will quiet the critics and earn a restructured contract.