OK, so put to bed any further suggestions or rumors that Tom Brady was going to hold out of Patriots training camp because the dude showed up on-time today along with the team's rookies. We also have word from Adam Shefter that the Pats and Brady are "within reach" of a long-term contract extension. Shefter then kind of backs off the "within reach" statement by saying:
If a deal cannot be struck, it will be primarily because of how complex the contract is and how difficult it is to complete it without knowing the specifics of the NFL's next collective bargaining agreement.
But one person familiar with the talks said there is ongoing dialogue that he described as positive and, while no deal is imminent, one now is within reach.
If a deal is "within reach," that kind of suggests we should expect a signing any day now. If there is no signing, then that suggests the "within reach" comments were somewhat exaggerated. Also, the BS about not knowing the complexities of the collective bargaining agreement is exactly the kind of collusion-style tactics the players union has accused the owners of engaging in all off-season.
The reason the excuse doesn't hold up is this is Tom Brady we're talking about! Who gives a crap what the salary cap will be in the future? Cap or no cap, the Patriots are going to sign him to whatever he wants! The whole friggin team is built around his talents, and his asking price is well within reason. I mean, if the friggin Green Bay Packers are making a yearly $9.8 million profit, the larger market Patriots are likely making triple that. So, please, the owners (Jim Irsay included) need to stop parroting this "we need to know how the collective bargaining agreement shakes out" crap. Agreement or no agreement, people like Tom Brady should be signed to extensions.
Brady signing now would be big because it likely would lead to the Colts signing Peyton Manning to a bigger extension. Once those two extensions are in place, players like Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, and Ryan McNeil have a baseline ceiling for which to request reasonable extensions of their own. "Gee, Peyton makes $20 mil a year now. I should be making $10 mill."
Of course, the owners do not want this to happen right now, and thus the accusations of "collusion" by the players.
All signs point to 2011 being a year where the owners will lock the players out from football without a new collective bargaining agreement. If that happens after they have signed players like Manning, Brady, and others to big extensions, they will be players millions of dollars to players the are preventing from playing football. Of course, regardless of whether there is or isn't football in 2011, the owners will be collecting checks from TV networks.
$4 billion dollars worth.
For us Colts fans, all we want is to get our ace signed until the end of his career. However, when you step back and look at all the stuff happening "in a the shadows," so to speak, signing Manning and Brady to extensions are moves much bigger than two rival teams locking up their franchise players. These moves are part of a much larger labor war. Manning's and Brady's extensions are the "Fort Sumter" moment, the "Lexington and Concord"-style event that will trigger that "war."