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King on D&H: ‘Never worried about Brady being a holdout’

07.26.10 at 2:03 pm ET
By
Peter King

Peter King

NFL analyst Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday morning to discuss Tom Brady’s contract situation, comparing it to Peyton Manning’s contract situation, and the rumblings that Brady would possibly hold out.

“I never was very worried about Brady being a holdout or a guy who didn’t come in on time, he’s just really not that kind of guy,” King said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a good situation if these talks stall and they don’t go anywhere. I do think they’re going to go somewhere and I think this deal is going to get done at some point this year.”

King also touched on the growing optimism on the Jets with their new acquisitions this upcoming season. King feels that New York improved, but questions if they can come together as a team.

Below are the highlights of the conversation. Visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page to hear the interview.

What are your feelings on the Tom Brady contract situation?

I’m on the optimistic side of this. I thought Albert Breer did a really good job yesterday in the Globe explaining why this contract is so difficult and why in fact it’s more difficult than Peyton Manning’s, because Manning is starting from a position of relative contractual strength and relatively contractual dirt, whereas Tom Brady is starting from $6.5 million. The only answer to do a contract like this really is to do an awful lot of guaranteed money in the contract and an awful lot of upfront money, which obviously entering into a year when you know that there could be no football next or there could be no football for a while next year, it’s kind of a difficult contract to do. I do believe Bob Kraft is going to do the right thing and get Brady done.

I pointed out in Monday Morning Quarterback the absurdity of the Brady contract is that David Garrard is going to make $2 million more than him this year. I just think it’s look past time when it’s done and I do think it will get done. I never was very worried about Brady being a holdout or a guy who didn’t come in on time, he’s just really not that kind of guy. But I don’t think it’s going to be a good situation if these talks stall and they don’t go anywhere. I do think they’re going to go somewhere and I think this deal is going to get done at some point this year.

Do you think it was more speculation or do you think that there were rumblings from somebody in Brady’s camp about a holdout?

My gut feeling is that it was speculation but again, I don’t know. Who knows? Maybe somebody told him who’s was close to Brady, but I don’t know. I look at Brady’s history and I look at the kind of guy he’s been, I think it was after the second Super Bowl, that the genesis of the first time he redid his contract and I remember him telling me that as long as he could be assured that the Patriots were going to spend the cap and surround him with great players, that he wasn’t going to be a greedy pig and go and get every last time. I bet it’s the same way this time too, I don’t think he has to get every last dime.

On the other side, I also don’t think, I mean I read somewhere and I don’t know if it’s true because I don’t have a list quarterback by quarterback of what they’re making this year, of what they’re average is. Brady, by some measure, is the 14th highest paid quarterback in football this year and that’s obviously not fair. It’s a guy who last year throws for 4,400 yards and 28 touchdowns with a broken finger and three broken ribs and against one of the toughest defensive schedules. If you go back and look at the schedule that the Patriots played, it was one of the toughest defensive schedules that any quarterback in football had last year. I think there’s no question that it should be done, I think it will be done.

Are you as optimistic as some are about the Jets’ chances this year?

Considering I picked Miami ahead of them when I did my power rankings in May, I’m a little from Missouri on this one. To me, you have to show me about the Jets. When you look at a team that has made all of the high-profile additions that the Jets have made, you start to ask yourself questions. Let’s just take one position, let’s take the wide receiver position. Well, you’ve got two guys who have been very high profile players. Santonio Holmes who’s been a Super Bowl MVP, Braylon Edwards who had two intergalactic seasons when he was with the Browns. Both of those guys are in their contract year and both of those guys are earning far less than what they think they should be earning.

So what’s going to happen when you come in to the meeting room on a Monday morning and you’ve got Mark Sanchez looking around the room in the offensive team meeting room. You got LaDainian Tomlinson who touched the ball only six times the previous day. You got Santonio Holmes who only gout four balls thrown to him. You got Braylon Edwards who only got one. You look around the room and there’s Jerricho Cotchery, an accomplished receiver in his own regard who’s a very humble guy and who’s definitely not going to make waves. But at some point, you have to ask yourself the question? For 16 weeks, are all those guys going to check their egos at the door and say, ‘I don’t care if I don’t catch any balls as long as we win.’ That’s what they’re going to say to the press. What are they saying in the meeting room on Monday to Brian Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator, and Mark Sanchez? I’ll tell you what they’re going to be saying, “Give me the damn ball.”

Well if you have Miami ranked ahead of the Jets, you probably have Miami ranked ahead of the Patriots too. Why do you like Miami and what do you think the Patriots are going to do this year?

Well, I think the Patriots are really the great unknown. The reason I picked the Dolphins so high is twofold. The one thing that I don’t like to do when I make picks before the season, and who knows a month from now if I’m going to feel the same way, if I don’t feel the same way I’ll change my mind. When I did this stuff back in May, a couple things I did I went back and looked up exactly how many teams had changed every year in the playoffs in the last five, six years. I believe it’s been five years in a row where it’s been either a six or seven team playoff change from one year to the next. As I wrote this morning, the last three Super Bowl winners the previous year, won eight, 10 and eight games, respectively (the Giants, Steelers and the Saints). So, the first thing you have to do is you have to truly have a blank slate when you look at these teams. You have to maybe look at how they were playing at the end of the year, what you think of their skill position players.

And I look at Miami, I see the addition of Brandon Marshall, who is a guy that Chad Henne’s been desperately needing. I think they have a real good possession type receiver in Brian Hartline, they’ll do okay with Davone Bess who is another receiver. I think they’re okay in the backfield and I think they’re offensive line is good enough. The whole question is going to be Chad Henne. The Phillip Merling injury really hurts the Dolphins. That was one of the three most valuable defensive players on their defense, at least in the type of defense that Tony Sporano/Bill Parcells want to run. So that gives me pause, that’s a problem. Just because they go out and get Marques Douglas, I don’t think that solves that problem. So I have a little bit of an asterisk next to my Dolphins pick right now.

What do I think about the Patriots? I really would have liked to see them do something more at wide receiver than they did. Maybe Taylor Price comes in and right away contributes. Maybe Torry Holt finds a little bit of the fountain of youth, gets excited playing with Tom Brady. Maybe Wes Welker is ready to go on opening day. I have heard in the last week from a good friend of Welker that he is bound and determined to play opening day. If he does not play opening day, it will be because the Patriots are being conservative with him which is not necessarily a bad thing. I think they have a lot of questions at the receiver position that I wish they would have done more to solve.

The tight end position I think they did a great job this offseason. I like both those rookies a lot, I really like [Rob] Gronkowski, I don’t see how you can’t like him. I think Aaron Hernandez is one of the most athletic looking tight ends that we’ve seen come out in a long time, with the possible exception of [Jermaine] Gresham, the Bengals guy. But anyways, take that to basically say that the Patriots don’t know where their pass rush is coming from. So, Patriots have a lot of really good young players that we don’t know how they’re going to translate at the next level.

I’m still trying to figure out what happens with Logan Mankins and I still don’t have an answer for it.

… The one thing about Mankins, no matter how proud a guy he is, you have to look at this thing and say okay, if Logan Mankins is willing as he’s clearly made it know that he’s willing out of principle to sit this year if he doesn’t get a contract that he feels is fair. Let’s just say that’s how he feels deep, down inside. If you’re Logan Mankins, you have to accept the fact that Armageddon could just happen next year. There might not be football next year. We all feel there will be at some point, but imagine if you draw a line in the sand, you make your stand, you say you’re not playing this year unless they average me a contract of $7 million a year, whatever his magic number is.

If he does that, he risks missing two seasons in a row in his prime, you ask yourself if suddenly the Patriots after an ugly battle cut him loose and he’s able to go wherever he wants to go in 2012. Well, let’s say you’re a general manager of a team and you look at Logan Mankins and you say, “Okay, this guy has not played football in 31 months, what is he worth now?” I don’t know what he’s worth. Is he worth more than what the Patriots are offering him now? Or, are we going to pay him on a very much incentive basis? So, Logan Mankins’ story will in some way come to its logical conclusion this year, which he’ll sign with the Patriots and they’ll get at least this year out of him. Then again, everything I’ve read and heard about him in this stance, he’s very solidly in the corner and unless they pay him long term of what he wants, he’s not signing.

Looking at the final two standing last year and how do you break them down?

It’s interesting, I’m always skeptical of teams repeating as I am this year of the Saints. No matter what I see, history will tell me it’s only happened one time in the last 11 years, the Patriots in 2003-04. Talking to Drew Brees a couple weeks ago, one of the things he told me was at minicamp, they had so many fights and so many arguments on one side of the ball to the other, that Sean Payton canceled some of the work that they were going to do because basically he didn’t want to prompt or prod any further fighting. Brees said to me, “I kind of like that because it shows that we haven’t lost our edge.” One of the things and I’m not sure many people know this, last year when Gregg Williams was hired as defensive coordinator by Sean Payton, one of the things he did was make every practice a game for his defense.

When he got there, Drew Brees was shredding the defense and having his way and he started to tell his guys, “Hey listen, give Brees a little bit of an elbow in the face if you’re going by or do something to make him know that we’re here and we’re going to be here all day and we’re going to be after you hard. And that’s what the defense ended up doing and I think that the Saints need Gregg Williams to continue to be his combative practice self because that not only helps the offense to get a better look every day, but it helps the defense say, “If we can compete against Drew Brees and this great offense, then we ought to be able to win a lot of games.”

Do you really, truly, honestly think that the powers that be would be dumb enough to shut this down for a while?

Well, but it’s not the powers that be really. I mean I don’t think that Roger Goodell sits there and says, “Well, we’re going to bury this union.” I just think it’s DeMaurice Smith and the Players Association saying, “Look, we need the following things to happen. We need significant, not just $10 million, we need a significant commitment to the retired players of this game.” This contract is going to be hard enough to achieve without injecting the retired players argument. I mean people look at me and their jaws drop when I tell them that the great Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly his monthly pension is $176. So, DeMaurice Smith came into this job and he’s been reading over the years of how the veteran players just have been bashing the union and [Gene] Upshaw didn’t care, all that stuff.

The bottom line in the whole thing is he said, “We’re going to take care of the veteran players.” You saw this with one of the first proposals he made saying, “Okay, we’ll give you the rookie pay scale but we want you to take $100 million a year that you were paying the rookies, committing to the rookies, and we want you to give it to the veterans and indigent players.” Well, that’s not something the NFL wants shoved down their throat. And again, all I’m doing is trying to look at the tea leaves in this thing. I just don’t see one side at the end of the day next February, early March, saying to the other side, “You know, you’re right. We’re going to give you $1 billion more on the cap than we have been giving you in the past so you can divide it amongst the players.” So, I just don’t see until somebody is threatened to be walking off a gang plank, I don’t see a deal getting done very soon.

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