By: Ian Logue/
July 16, 2010

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With Tom Brady and Peyton Manning both looking at potential contract extensions, it appears that there is one barometer that may be coming which could set the bar for their new deals.

According to reports by Adam Schefter of ESPN, negotiations between the St. Louis Rams and No. 1 draft choice Sam Bradford have apparently begun, with Bradford reportedly looking for guaranteed money in the range of $45 to $50 million.

As pointed out by CSN New England's Tom Curran, Bradford will likely be looking for a deal larger than the six-year one signed last summer by Matthew Stafford, who got $41.7 million guaranteed.

For now quarterback Tom Brady is still heading into the final year of his current deal in New England.
The problem now for the Patriots is that whatever deal he signs, it may likely have an effect on what Brady's agent may be seeking - especially considering that Bradford by comparison has an empty resume. After all, Brady has three rings, two Super Bowl MVP trophies, along with passing records that unless Bradford is extremely fortunate, he will likely never break.

That, using some form of logic, obviously should mean that Brady (and even as much as I dislike him, Manning) both deserve more than an unproven rookie.

Needless to say as Curran points out, the Patriots (and the Colts for that matter) may have a tough time arguing that Brady is not in line for something either the same - or potentially more lucrative - than what either Stafford or Bradford got.

Granted a deal hasn't been made yet, but as Curran mentions we'll have to wonder how this will come into play. Both Robert Kraft and Colts owner Jim Irsay have been blaming the slow negotiations for their two stars on the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, which to this point has prevented new deals from getting done. The hard part will be making the same argument if the Rams are able to get one done for Bradford despite the uncertain labor situation.

Now don't get me wrong, you can't hold the Patriots or Colts hostage over the Rams' fiscal irresponsibility, but it still won't help things. The Rams haven't had a dependable starting quarterback in a long time, so as a result they really don't have the luxury of playing hardball with Bradford. They need people in the seats and wins on the field, so those two factors alone will likely be cause for inevitably overpaying a guy who they hope will get their team back to a championshop level.

In the end, for the Rams it's not their responsibility to worry about the ripple effect the deal with their guy will have on the league, let alone how it affects the Colts or Patriots. They just need to somehow get him under contract and hope he ends up becoming somewhere near the calibur of those two players. If that happens, the money won't least not until his next contract.

Needless to say you can bet Manning and Brady's agents will be watching. For Patriots fans up to this point we've just been waiting to hear if the Colts pulled the trigger on a new deal for their QB to see what happens next here with Brady. Instead there's now one more thing to complicate what New England's franchise quarterback has already called a "difficult situation".

That is unless, of course, Bradford's becomes just as difficult.