Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who broke the news about Tom Brady‘s new contract Monday, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss the ramifications of the deal.
King said he thinks Patriots ownership initiated the discussions.
“I think it started with Bob Kraft, he and Jonathan talking, ‘It’s time to try to put a deal together to make sure that Tom Brady never leaves New England. And in addition to that, we need some cap relief.’ It was a good marriage for the Patriots, I thought,” King said.
“And Don Yee, Brady’s agent, I think deserves a lot of credit. You’ll hear a lot of agents, if you talk to them off the record, they’ll really be critical of this deal: ‘Yee got taken to the cleaners, Brady could have gotten a lot more money.’ Of course he could have. Everybody knows he could have. That’s not Brady’s goal. Brady’s goal is to walk into training camp every year — if you told Tom Brady right now that somebody would write him a check for 3 million more dollars this year or he could use that 3 million as part of a deal to go get Dwight Freeney, what would he rather have? He’ll take Freeney any day of the week, I guarantee you.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it isn’t really that way.’ It is that way. That’s the way Tom Brady is.”
There has been widespread speculation that part of Brady’s incentive in accepting a below-market deal was so that the team could afford to pay his friend, receiver Wes Welker.
“I don’t know if Tom has said anything to them about Welker. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t know that it’s happened,” King said. “I think the Patriots are basically going to try to say to free agents, ‘Look at what Tom Brady did. If you want to be on board a team that’s going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl every year, you’re going to have to do the same.’
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they did it with Dwight Freeney or any of the other guys in free agency — if they want to go for a big franchise receiver, a Mike Wallace. I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch, whether any guys they sign take a little bit below their market value because Brady did it.”
With Brady locked up for three more years, the Patriots might consider dangling backup Ryan Mallett on the trade market.
“I don’t hear very much about that,” King said. “I asked some teams at the combine about Mallett, because I keep wondering about him, too. I didn’t sense much of a buzz. That doesn’t mean that one team doesn’t say, ‘I’ll give the Patriots a [fourth-rounder]; he’s better than what we have, or he can compete with our guys,’ and there are a very limited number of teams.
“One guy who might be interested in Ryan Mallett at the right price would be Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals. The reason is Arians wants a deep-thrower, and he wants a deep-thrower that he can develop in his own offense. … I think Arizona’s the most likely scenario, but clearly the Cardinals are looking at the rookie class, and I think they’re probably going to take one of those guys.”
The Ravens are expected to part ways with defensive back Ed Reed, and the Patriots appears poised to make an offer.
“Every time each guy opens his mouth, there’s a love affair between Bill Belichick and Ed Reed,” King said. “I’ve heard everybody say he could go to Indianapolis. I could be wrong, but I think it’s more likely he’d go to New England than Indianapolis. … I still think that New England’s more likely, and I don’t think that he’s going back to Baltimore.”
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