Disconnect Brewing Between Patriots, Tom Brady

Michael Silver of Yahoo!Sports reports that, despite optimism from owner Robert Kraft that a long-term contract would get done, there is "a growing sense of disconnect" between the New England Patriots and franchise quarterback Tom Brady.

"Entering the final year of the $60 million contract he signed before the 2005 season, Brady would seem to be in line for a lucrative extension that would make him one of the league’s highest-paid players. Yet three months before the start of the 2010 campaign, and less than two months before training camp, there have been no substantial talks between his agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats’ front office, and there’s a growing sense of disconnect between the two camps.

Brady declined to comment, saying he is uncomfortable discussing the subject.

It would help if the two sides started talking, but right now there is insecurity in the air. With the specter of a work stoppage following the 2010 season looming, Brady’s situation seems entwined with the uncertain labor landscape, to the point where he could be angling toward prospective free agency after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached."

I've been conditioned to never be surprised when the Patriots don't extend, or play hardball with, contracts involving key players, but Tom Brady isn't just another player that Bill Belichick can easily replace within his system. He plays the most important position in the game, and the Patriots have not drafted or developed the depth at quarterback like they have for potential departures of nose tackle Vince Wilfork, wide receiver Randy Moss, and guard Logan Mankins.

Between that, and the potential of Brady's contract expiring after 2010 without any means for the Patriots to restrict his free agent movement, New England has very little leverage in these negotiations. Silver's column, which will likely be panned by the Murphs and Sully's of Red Sox Nation, serves as a good reminder of that.

Gut feeling is that a long-term deal eventually gets done. I can't imagine seeing Tom Brady playing in another uniform. If he's honest about it, I'm sure Brady couldn't see himself in one, either.

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