Tom Brady signed a three-year, $27 million extension, a team-friendly deal that frees up much-needed salary-cap space for the New England Patriots. If Brady is taking less for the team, shouldn't the Ravens' Joe Flacco do the same? Absolutely not.
The Brady Bargain has no impact on Flacco's ongoing negotiations. Suggesting Flacco make the same sacrifice is a lack of understanding of the situations. Flacco is 28, seven years younger than Brady. Flacco is a free agent while Brady had two years left on his deal. And Flacco has yet to sign his first big-time contract while Brady just raked in a $16 million signing bonus in 2010.
The Ravens can certainly ask Flacco to give them a Brady discount. Flacco's response is simple: Brady's generous deal doesn't magically make the big-money contracts signed by Drew Brees ($20 million per season) and Peyton Manning ($19.2 million) magically disappear. The market value for a Super Bowl-winning quarterback hasn't changed over one contract.
Plus, no one brings up the fact Flacco was actually underpaid last year, making $6.7 million in a season in which he ended up as the Super Bowl MVP. So, no one should begrudge Flacco from earning his payday. Flacco had a sure bet before last season when the Ravens reportedly offered him $16 million per season. Instead, he gambled on himself and won in a big way. Flacco deserves his reward.
It would be ridiculous to make the argument that Flacco is on the same level as Brady. It's equally ridiculous to think Flacco and Brady are on the same footing financially. Brady was the 28th highest-paid athlete last year, according to Forbes. He makes $4 million in endorsements per year from Under Armour and Uggs. Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, has been the highest-paid supermodel for the past five years, earning $45 million last year alone. The Bradys just moved into a $20 million mansion in Los Angeles that has a moat. Compare all of that to Flacco, whose big endorsement deal at the Super Bowl was gummy bears.
There will be some who question Flacco's commitment to winning over this. The Ravens could use the cap room to keep safety Ed Reed, pass rusher Paul Kruger and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as well as ensure wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones are back. But if you're going to ask Flacco to take less money for the good of the team, it's only fair that you ask Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Ray Rice to do the same. They all got paid, and Flacco has the same right.
Sure, Flacco can be the hero again for the Ravens by signing for less than what he could get elsewhere (and the Browns, Bills, Cardinals and Jaguars would pay). But it would be a foolish move money-wise. If Flacco doesn't set the market this year, Matt Ryan will. And there's very little loyalty when it comes to football this time of year, even for Super Bowl champions. The Ravens, off all teams, know this. Remember it was the Ravens who kicked Trent Dilfer to the curb 12 years ago after hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy.
It's a good story with Brady, a future Hall of Fame quarterback helping out his team to make another Super Bowl run as he nears 40 years old. But this has no bearing on Flacco. They are quarterbacks in different chapters of their careers.