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Florio on D&H: Brady a ‘different guy’ than he used to be

07.21.10 at 3:58 pm ET
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NFL writer and Profootballtalk.com creator Mike Florio joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to discuss the competitive AFC East and the contractual situation of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as well as offer his guess as to how the Brett Favre saga will play out this summer.

Regarding Brady, Florio said: “I keep hearing it from more and more people in the know, that he’s a different guy than he used to be. Some people think there’s a little bit of the Yoko Ono factor going on with his wife who makes $30 million a year, either telling him to try and get more money, or not play football at all and stay out in Los Angeles with her.”

Following are highlights of the interview. To hear the full interview visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Can you explain the collective bargaining agreement in a way people can understand?

I cannot do it in a way that will keep people’s eyes from glazing over, and I want no responsibility for any of your listeners who fall asleep while driving their cars, but I will try, I make no promises. Look, here’s the thing: there’s a bigger issue going on here between the league and the players union and it has many levels and layers and complexities. At the end of the day, the NFL has set up a labor situation that is designed, not necessarily to crush the union, but to get the best possible deal. And one of the ways that the NFL is applying pressure to the players, especially current players, is to refuse to sign current players to new deals with big money that they would then be able to rely upon if there’s a work stoppage in 2011. And that puts the players in a position where they’re anxious about a lockout, they don’t want a lockout, because they haven’t gotten these contract extensions. Key players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who otherwise could be leaders for the union effort, they don’t have that huge pile of money to sit on. Not that Tom Brady needs any more [money] when his wife is making $30 million in a year. But, I think these guys are getting caught up in a broader effort by the NFL to cut off the players as best they can, and they’ve been able to hold most of the teams together. I think there may be some collusion going on here, and that’s for the NFL [Players Association] to take up at some point in the future. But, when you see key guys on rosters, like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, not getting deals and teams saying we want to see what the new rules are before we sign these guys. I mean common, what are you going to do, you’re not going to sign Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to a big money deal because there’s a salary cap? I just don’t buy it.

Regarding Tom Brady, what are you hearing about his relationship with the Patriots?

I was intrigued by this one, because [ESPN NFL writer] John Clayton is a guy who doesn’t care too much for me, and [CSNNE.com NFL writer] Tom Curran, a good friend of mine, reported that what Clayton reported was ridiculous. I’ll tell you what, I don’t think that Clayton is all that far off the mark with this one. I don’t rule anything out in this craziest of years that we’ve ever seen. Something has changed with Tom Brady over the past few years. I keep hearing it from more and more people in the know, that he’s a different guy than he used to be. Some people think there’s a little bit of the Yoko Ono factor going on with his wife who makes $30 million a year, either telling him to try and get more money, or not play football at all and stay out in Los Angeles with her. That could be a factor in all of this. Brady has taken a more active role in the union, and what better way than to be a good soldier in the union, than to take a stand against what seems to be collusion on the part of the owners to try and squeeze the players as best they can.

What have you heard about the Logan Mankins situation?

Look, the bottom line is, if the Patriots aren’t going to extend Tom Brady or Randy Moss, then why in the world are they going to do anything with Logan Mankins? You could make the argument that you could find a guy that could do almost as good a job in the draft, or as a guy you could get in free agency, and is he worth the kind of money he’s looking for. Yeah, I think that relationship may be broken and it’s just a matter of time before he goes somewhere else. But so be it, if they’re not going to pay Tom Brady, I don’t see them giving big money to anyone else.

With all the hype surrounding the Jets, you’re not handing the AFC East to them this year?

No, I handed the AFC East to the Dolphins, which I’m sure people in Boston love to hear.

Why the Dolphins?

I think Brandon Marshall has a huge impact on that team. People just write off Brandon Marshall as kind of a flake, he’s been in trouble multiple times, he’s had injuries. One of the debates I often get into is what makes a great quarterback. Is it a great receiver, does a great quarterback make a great receiver? Look last year about what happened in Denver after Jay Cutler left. Who still had a great year and who didn’t? Brandon Marshall had a great year with Kyle Orton throwing him passes. Jay Cutler couldn’t do anything with that collection of stiffs they have in Chicago. I think you bring Brandon Marshall to South Florida with that very good running game, an underrated offensive line, a good defense that’s going to get a good kick in the butt from [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Nolan, who really helped turn around Denver’s defense last year. You’re going to have guys running free in single coverage, because they are going to be double covering Brandon Marshall. He’s going to open up the running game. I think the Miami Dolphins are a very dangerous team in 2010.

When will Brett Favre show up in Minnesota?

It’s going to be some point in the middle of August. He feels compelled to have an excuse to miss training camp. And he said recently that his ankle isn’t where it needs to be. I also think he wants to make people believe he’s not coming back. He wants that buzz, he wants that sense of relief when Lord Favre rides into town on a stallion to save the Minnesota Vikings, again. He wants that. And this year it’s harder because he’s already under contract with the Vikings. Last year, he had no obligation. So, I think he’s trying to create a sense that he’s not going to play, and then in the middle of August, like last year, he’ll show up out of the blue, and all will be right in the world for the Vikings, until they get into the playoffs and lose again.

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