New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft breaks down Tom Brady deal
The New England Patriots obviously have love for their quarterback Tom Brady. His recent contract extension has been subject to praise, speculation, doubt and all things in between.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and disclosed the mindset behind the deal that everyone is talking about.
The most interesting of the comments was that this deal has been in the works mentally for Kraft for several years.
” [ I had] been thinking about this for three or four years,” Kraft said. “I was probably wearing my fan hat as much as anything else. I just didn’t want to ever see this become like Joe Montana leaving San Francisco, Emmitt Smith leaving Dallas, Brett Favre leaving Green Bay, Peyton Manning leaving Indianapolis. If Tom Brady played out this current contract and left us, there was no doubt in my mind that someone out there would pay him top dollar, and they should, for his ability, his leadership and his unselfishness.
“I was just trying to stay ahead of the curve. If we were going to have to pay him elite-quarterback money and have elite-quarterback cap numbers, I just didn’t think we would be able to build a team. We don’t want to have a team where we’re paying 18 to 20 percent to a player on the cap. I wanted to do something elegant that would work for everybody. I had been talking to him off and on for maybe 18 months, about how I wanted him to finish his career here, and about how we both have to be smart about it. I just really want him to end his career a Patriot.”
Kraft went on to state that he and Brady talked through his vision on a recent trans-continental flight.
“We had a lot of time to talk,” Kraft said. “Six hours.”
“I presented an idea to him that I thought could work for both sides. He takes care of his body in terms of exercise and working out and his food. Tom’s intake of food is, really, so healthy. He has a whole style of living that is so important to him … We’re taking a chance making this commitment, and he’s taking one, in terms of his ability to maximize pay. I just thought if winning is the most important thing to him, and I think it is, and it certainly is to our family, this gives us the best chance to win.
“Hopefully we have an elite quarterback that, even if his skills decline even a little bit, he’ll still be better than 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the league. And his legacy — I already believe he’s the greatest of all time — if we win one or two more, he can solidify that.”
Kraft also stated that once Brady turned it over to his agent, his agent helped the process along.
“I credit Don Yee for being supportive and not talking Tommy out of it,” Kraft said.
The Patriots are without a doubt the NFL’s Evil Empire to most.
In many ways they have been stern and cold within their contract negotiations.
Names such as Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri can attest to that.
But when it comes to Brady?
He has always been and will remain the face of what they do.