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Mortensen on D&C: Brady ‘not happy’ with contract

07.27.10 at 11:19 am ET
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ESPN insider Chris Mortensen joined the Dennis & Callahan show early Tuesday morning to discuss everything football just before the start of training camp. Mort talked about Dez Bryant‘s controversy with the Cowboys, the favorites in the AFC East, the Logan Mankins contract discussions and Tom Brady‘s private ruminations about his unfavorable contract.

“Why would we expect Tom to be happy making $6.5 million? It’€™s not like they’€™re going out there and signing a bunch of free agents to truly make this team better,” Mortensen said.

When asked about the AFC East in 2010, Mortensen replied: “If I were rating this division right now, I would be rating it: 1. Jets, 2. Dolphins, 3. Patriots, with all three having a chance to go to the playoffs and filling up all the playoff spots.”

Below are highlights. To listen to the full interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan Show audio on demand page.

On Dez Bryant’€™s early issues with the Cowboys:

It’€™s an interesting story because it’€™s only [about] carrying [Roy Williams'€™] shoulder pads. We kind of classify it as hazing, but I don’€™t think that’€™s hazing. It’€™s a rite of passage, I’€™ve heard people say. On the other hand, I can tell you from [the Cowboys'€™] offseason, I think that there was a feeling that everyone had a good offseason workout. [They] worked their tails off, except for one player, and the problem is the one player asking him to carry his shoulder pads is Roy Williams. So, I’m not sure that there are coaches and veteran players in the locker room that are all that upset with Dez Bryant, because I think they’re more upset with Roy Williams.

On if the Cowboys are siding with Bryant because of Williams’€™ lack of effort:

Well there’€™s no question I think you’€™re right. ‘€¦ Whether it’€™s coaches or players or ownership, executives in terms of thoughts about Roy. Are there 53 guys all rolling in the same direction or are there 52? I’€™ve heard that, with Roy being the exception. There’€™s no question from what they’€™ve seen, [the Cowboys believe] that Dez will be a star. It doesn’€™t matter if you’€™re going to be a star or not, generally, if a vet says, ‘€œGo carry my shoulder pads,’€ the rookie does it. It was just interesting that Dez decided not to do it. The other thing, let’€™s not forget this, it was the only training camp open and it’€™s the Cowboys and it’€™s the media. I’€™ll have to throw ESPN out there because whenever we do something, it becomes bigger. So, it’€™s probably a little bit bigger deal than it is in actuality in the locker room or amongst the organization.

On the three QBs in the last year of their contracts ‘€” Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees:

Well, Peyton is going to make $15.7 million this year. The ‘€œBank of Manning’€ didn’€™t have to take any stimulus packages, as I like to refer to them. My feeling is the most urgent [contract] is Tom Brady’€™s, but if you’€™re Tom, do you go ahead? Do the Patriots go ahead and get something done? I don’€™t think anything is imminent. I know he’€™s the consummate pro, he can’€™t be happy. He’€™s at most risk because his salary is so low.

By the way, this is a philosophical difference; I don’€™t buy the argument [that] an uncertain labor future makes these deals with Manning, Brady and Brees tough to do. I’€™m not in that group because I really believe that no matter what the deal is going forward, whether the union decertifies a similar system, you can get a deal done with those elite players and not worry about it. I would say that Brady could wait on Manning and play off that, or the Patriots could be smart and get it done and get him in that $20 million per year range.

On Brady’€™s dissatisfaction with his contract and if he would come out to the media with his anger:

No, I would be shocked. That’€™s never been Tom Brady’€™s style and it’€™s like this, there may be times ‘€¦ where I was unhappy about something, but I don’€™t necessarily say something publicly. Tom loves the game of football, he wants to win. He’€™ll always handle it like a pro, but I trust very much in the people that I talk to that he has not been happy about this situation, but it’€™s not the way he’€™s going to go about doing business here with this football team.

Here he is, getting ready to start a season and he’€™s scheduled to make $6.5 million and on principle alone, he’€™s not happy. Eventually, it’€™s business, but business always crosses a little over the personal line. He’€™s not happy that he’€™s had to wait this long, he knows that he’€™s taking one for the team, the team was at the bottom of team payrolls last year, but you have to put those things in perspective too. My wife may not be happy with me because I didn’€™t get some things done this offseason, [but] she’€™s still talking to me.

There’€™s no question, and why would we expect Tom to be happy making $6.5 million? It’€™s not like they’€™re going out there and signing a bunch of free agents to truly make this team better. [The Patriots] have a philosophy that they’€™re trying to get younger, trying to compete. I think that the Logan Mankins situation is a situation that really bears more watching even than Tom’€™s.

On who deserves more money, Manning or Brady:

I’€™ll say Brady. Tom’€™s always been the higher paid between the two. I would say that Tom deserves a dollar more just because he’€™s got a lot to make up. He’€™ll never make as much money as Peyton [has] because Peyton came in as the number one pick and maxed out his entire rookie contract, big time. So, I would say Tom deserves that. He’€™s won three Super Bowls, done everything possible he can. You can say all you want about Bill Belichick. [He'€™s] a great coach and [Robert] Kraft is a great owner and they’€™ve had a lot of great players, but without number 12, what with the historical decade and they guy can still play. To me, he’€™s got to be the guy.

On the Logan Mankins situation:

Who knows what happens every night, when you go to bed and you wake up and say, ‘€œYou know what? I’€™m a football player and I don’€™t like this.’€ What I haven’€™t told is that Logan is like one of those old farm boy mentalities where your word is your word. He can be pretty stubborn about that and when Jahri Evans‘€™ contract came in and the Patriots offered theirs, he was very upset. The Patriots can make an argument that if you break down the Jahri Evans contract, it’€™s not as good as you think. You’€™re always going to hear that stuff. I think Mankins is going to stick this one out for a while, based on what I’€™ve been told. Does that mean that the Patriots will trade him? I don’€™t know.

On the AFC East:

I think that the Jets are going to be better, let me put it that way. I think their defense is going to be even more dominant and their offense is going to be better now; I think that Thomas Jones, you could argue part of that, but I think that Braylon Edwards is going to have a surprise, really big time season.

I think the Dolphins are going to be right there, in the mix. There are going to be three teams out of the division going to the playoffs. If I were rating this division right now, I would be rating it: 1. Jets, 2. Dolphins, 3. Patriots, with all three having a chance to go to the playoffs and filling up all the playoff spots.

Well, the Patriots could win 10 games, they could win nine, I don’€™t know. To me, they have a few more question marks than the other teams. Obviously, I saw Wes Welker when we were shooting ESPN commercials a couple of weeks [ago]. You knew then, just by seeing him and talking to him that he really felt good about his situation in getting better, but I think that the offensive line has to be stabilized and the defense has question marks. No matter what you say, the defense has question marks.

Read More: Chris Mortensen, Dez Bryant, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady
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