BOSTON (CBS) — Last week’s news of Tom Brady restructuring his contract spurred national debates regarding just how much of a team-friendly deal Brady had signed. The initial report said Brady took a deal worth significantly less than his market value, though it later was revealed that he guaranteed himself more money in the next two seasons in the process, all while adding three years of “insurance” money, so to speak.
To help explain the Patriots’ mind-set to signing the deal, which added three years of Brady to keep him under contract until he’s 40 years old, Robert Kraft spoke to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. Kraft said that despite the chatter, Brady’s contract is exactly what it looks like.
“This is a real deal,” Kraft told King. “Look at our track record. We don’t do fake deals. The contract we have with Tom Brady is a real contract we will both live by.”
The answer came in response to questions about the Patriots’ likelihood of tearing up the contract after 2015 and giving Brady a big pay raise. Kraft said such claims are incorrect.
“These people don’t know the relationship between Tommy and this team,” Kraft told King. “Maybe they hate the Patriots, or they’re jealous. I understand the naysayers are out there, but we want to build a team capable of winning every year, and while this is not perfect in every way, we think this will help us get there.”
Kraft told King that he had been talking with Brady about an extension for about a year and a half, and the two hammered out the details on a six-hour flight to Los Angeles a week after the season ended.
“I presented an idea to him that I thought could work for both sides,” Kraft said. “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 told King that he didn’t want to see Brady leave New England the way Joe Montana left San Francisco, Emmit Smith leaving Dallas, Brett Favre leaving Green Bay and, most recently, Peyton Manning leaving Indianapolis.
“I just really want him to end his career a Patriot,” Kraft said.