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Schefter on D&C: Pats and Brady ‘furthest along’

07.26.10 at 10:47 am ET
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ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about Tom Brady‘s contract talks. Schefter is much more optimistic than others who have indicated the QB is unhappy with the Patriots. Schefter said he believes Brady is on schedule to be signed before Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

‘€œOn the basis of everything I’ve heard this weekend, it sounds like the Patriots and Tom Brady are furthest along at this point in time,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œIt sounds like something definitely can get wrapped up here this summer.’€ Added Schefter: ‘€œI did not get the sense that it is imminent, but I did get the sense it’s certainly possible in the next few weeks.’€

Schefter said he believes concerns about the collective bargaining agreement and how it will affect the salary cap are slowing down the process.

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

Why did I think that Peyton Manning was going to sign his deal before Brady? What you’€™ve written today on ESPN.com indicates that Brady, of all the big quarterbacks, might be the furthest down the road toward an agreement.

Well, I think he is furthest down the road right now. That doesn’€™t mean that he’€™ll be the first to get done but I would tell you it would be Brady and Manning or Manning and Brady. My guess right now, on the basis of everything I’€™ve heard this week, would be Brady first, Manning second. Now, these things change and who knows, Jim Irsay could come in this morning and say, ‘€œHey, let’€™s just get this done this week, let’€™s get it done before camp,’€ and all of a sudden Manning is first. On the basis of everything I’ve heard this weekend, it sounds like the Patriots and Tom Brady are furthest along at this point in time. It sounds like something definitely can get wrapped up here this summer.

Were if not for the looming CBA issues, I really believe it would be done right now, the deal. When you’re talking about a huge contract, and you’re talking about the type of numbers that Brady’s going to make in a year and you don’t know what the salary cap is going to be, it’s not an easy thing to configure. And I think that right now is probably the big hangup. Because the talks are going on. They seem, from everything I’ve gathered, to be very cordial. They seem to be on the same page. It’s just a question of finalizing it and getting it done.

So that’€™s the big question mark in the owners’€™ minds. More than anything else, they don’€™t know what the cap number is going to be. As a result, they don’€™t know what percentage of that cap some big deal will create under the salary cap, is that about it?

Well, listen, there are a lot of issues but that’€™s one of the primary ones, absolutely.

So Brady is not upset or angry from what you hear?

Look, I’€™m not naïve enough to think that there aren’€™t people out there who think that he’€™s upset. I’€™m aware of things that have been written, things that have been said and there are people who believe that. I’€™m not telling you that it’€™s absolutely perfect and flawless, but again from what I’€™ve heard, my sense is everything seems to be pretty fine.

What’€™s the timetable, are talking any day now?

I did not get the sense that it is imminent, but I did get the sense it’s certainly possible in the next few weeks. Now, again how do you predict negotiations? You guys have been through negotiations yourself. Sometimes they linger, sometimes they wrap up quick. It’€™s impossible to predict but the possibility exists very strongly that the deal will get this summer.

How does Brady’€™s deal affect Manning’€™s or Manning’€™s vs. Brady’€™s if his gets done first? They’€™re intertwined are they not?

Well, I think if you’€™re Tom Brady you would want to know what Peyton Manning is going to get if he goes first. If you’€™re Peyton Manning you want to know what Tom Brady gets. If Tom Brady gets an average of $18 million per season, your Peyton Manning, you say, ‘€œWell, I deserve $18 million.’€ So, to me, I think I would want to go first because say Peyton Manning wants $20 million per year and Tom Brady goes for $18 million, and I’€™m really throwing out numbers here I really don’€™t know, it’€™s hard for Peyton Manning to say he’€™s worth $20 million when [Brady'€™s] getting $18 million. Although, when you talk about numbers that large what does it really matter?

Is there any way where this thing pans out where Brady makes more than Manning does?

Who cares? They’€™re both going to make a lot of money. ‘€¦ If Brady gets $18 million, I think Manning will get $18 million and $1.

In your talks with your various sources, have you heard anything on Logan Mankins? Is he going to get traded?

That’€™s pretty interesting because I’€™ve not stressed that and that’€™s a shortcoming on my part, I should have. I would think that they don’€™t trade him. I know that he’€™s very angry, I know that there’€™s some ill will on his part, that’€™s obvious. You have one of the premier interior linemen of the game, they offered him a contract of $7 million a year if I’€™m not mistaken. To trade him, to me, I just don’€™t see it. First of all, how do you replace him. Secondly, what kind of message does it send to the rest of the team. I don’€™t see that happening. Thirdly, it’€™s just hard for me to imagine. In all fairness, I have to make more calls and dig into that more than I have.

Of all the mysteries as training camp approaches, the one I really need explaining to me is the Eagles trading Donovan McNabb to the Redskins?

Well, basically, they were going to trade Donovan McNabb, it was something that they were going to do. It was a situation where they went in, my sense of it was that they thought they could get a lot back for Donovan McNabb. What they failed to consider at that point, or at least weigh as heavily as they should have, was the fact that Donovan McNabb had one year left on his contract. So, anyone that was trading for Donovan knew that they would have to pay him lot of money and compensate the Eagles, who were asking for a lot. Teams backed off it and I don’€™t agree with that because to me, quarterback is by far the most important position in sports. If you have a good quarterback, you have what you need to be a competitive team. People in the Eagles locker room ‘€¦ preferred Kevin Kolb as their quarterback than they did McNabb. The first time I hear that I was like, ‘€œWhat?’€

I asked around to a few of the players and they seemed to validate it. I’€™m taking a random sampling, three or four guys, but I had heard that from various people. I think the Eagles were on board with that and I think they believed in Kevin Kolb from the time they used a second-round pick, their first pick in the draft, on him a few years back. At some point, a day was going to come when they turned to him and I think they felt Donovan McNabb took them as far as he could take them. The market kind of dried up on them and the only two places really left to trade him to where Oakland and Washington. That’€™s when Andy Reid stepped in and said, ‘€œLook, I’€™m not sending Donovan to Oakland when he doesn’€™t want to go.’€ They can deny whatever they want, they can say whatever they want, I’€™m telling you that’€™s what happened.

Where is Terrell Owens going?

My guess would be Cincinnati. I just think that Cincinnati is a much better team right now. He’€™s got a better quarterback and wide receiver combination for the short term, which is what he would be playing for, the short term. I just think ultimately, he winds up with Cincinnati. Though St. Louis would be discussed this morning whether or not they want to make an offer for him.

You think Dez Bryant is going to have a problem in Dallas?

If he goes out and plays and performs and produces, I don’€™t think Dez Bryant is going to have a problem. It’€™s an interesting case because you have two diametrically opposed sides. There are people who are saying that Dez Bryant should act like a rookie and respect the veterans and do what he’€™s told, almost like every other rookie in this league. Others say that he’€™s making a statement here and going against outdated rookie hazing practices. Again, I’€™m a traditionalist, I get [Chris Mortensen'€™s] notebook more than once.

Will the Jay Cutler-Mike Martz marriage in Chicago work out?

I think it will help Cutler, I don’€™t know if it will work. They still don’€™t have a great offensive line and you’€™re going to have that to protect Cutler and he’€™s going to have to make better decisions. I just wonder if he can. I think he’€™ll be improved but again, if he’€™s going to be putting the ball in the air as much as he is, I’€™m not convinced it’€™s going to work out for the Bears the way they were told.

Is Josh McDaniels going to get Tim Tebow somehow involved in the offense?

Somehow, someway, yeah. Just think about it like this. Take out the name Josh McDaniels, take out the name Tim Tebow. When a team drafts a player in the first round, does it want to see him play? That’€™s it, there you go.

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