ESPNBoston.com’s Tim Graham reported on Monday that there may be trouble on the horizon with just a little over a week to go until training camp begins, and he feels it could involve quarterback Tom Brady holding out when the team comes together at Gillette Stadium next week.
In Graham’s report, according to ESPN’s John Clayton, the preliminary talks haven’t gone well.
“They’re nowhere close,” Clayton said, “and Tom has made it clear to management that he doesn’t want to give any sacrifices. He wants top dollar, and he’s earned top dollar.”
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An interesting note started last week when Vince Wilfork spoke with “Toucher & Rich” show on 98.5 regarding his “Help Vince” scavenger hunt event that he’s put together. A couple of his comments during that interview raised an eyebrow among Patriots fans who initially may have thought nothing of it, but now after Graham’s report may have a reason to be concerned.
When asked about whether he’d be surprised if Brady didn’t show up, Wilfork didn’t just come right out and say he expected him to be there.
“I try not to pay (attention) to anyone else’s business because everyone handles their business in different ways,” said Wilfork. “Me personally, I know Tom personally, and he’s a great guy. He’s all about football. He loves his teammates . . . at the same time it’s a business. When business plays a part in it, of course you’re going to have some areas where people are going to do different things. Only Tom knows what he’s going to do. I really can’t comment on if he’s coming or not coming.”
When asked if he’d be surprised if Brady didn’t show up, Wilfork replied, “Like I said, business is businesss. Knowing Tom, he’s going to do what’s best for himself, and he’s going to keep the team in mind. I’m going to leave it at that. I can’t say what he’s going to do, or what he’s not going to do. I’m going to be there.”
The other part of the equation is the fact that St. Louis Rams QB and No. 1 draft choice Sam Bradford, has yet to reach a deal, although Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that negotiations are underway. According to Schefter Bradford is reportedly looking for guaranteed money in the range of $45 to $50 million. CSN New England’s Tom Curran pointed out last week that 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.
How that will factor into the negotiations remains to be seen, but it’s expected to play a part in not only Brady’s negotiations, but also in Colts QB Peyton Manning’s as well.
Needless to say things aren’t looking good so far. Considering practice more or less revolves around the quarterback, a holdout by Brady would certainly be a setback for everyone on the offensive side of the football. It would also create a lot of uncertainty on a team where Brady is well respected by everyone in that locker room. After all, there are probably some guys who are already upset about what’s going on with disgruntled guard Logan Mankins, seeing their offensive and locker room leader holdout definitely wouldn’t help.
As Wilfork said, he expects Brady to “keep the team in mind”, although he still also has to do what’s “best for himself”.
Hopefully that means we’ll see him in practice next week.