---- — Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are apparently going to finish “this,” which they started at the turn of the century, together.
And they apparently are prepared to do something they haven’t done before ... go for broke — i.e. more Lombardi Trophies — and thus adjusting their legacies in National Football League history.
The reported extension — Brady signed to a paltry $27 million over three years through 2017 — will take him to his 40th birthday and 18 years with the New England Patriots.
This sends an early message that the Patriots, and Brady, mean business and that winning championships supercedes winning AFC East Division and AFC Championships.
The “paltry” extension opens the door for many personnel moves, including the re-signing of Brady’s best buddy, Wes Welker.
It not only also opens up the opportunity to re-sign potential free agents Aqib Talib and Sebastian Volmer, at near-market value contracts, but it opens up the opportunity to bring in a bigger name — see Ravens free agent safety Ed Reed — and bring him in fast when free agency officially begins on March 12.
Yesterday’s signing reeks of a franchise that is ready to make a move.
To be honest, that’s refreshing, considering the lackluster offseasons of late.
The Patriots are, as Las Vegas bookmakers have told us, still the team to beat in the AFC.
One reason is Belichick. One reason is Brady. And another reason is the Patriots are still built for the long haul with nine of the 22 starters age 26 or younger.
The Patriots, despite their recent (six years) run of bad performances in some big games, have some key younger talent, like Volmer (a free agent) and Nate Solder on the offensive line, entering their prime. They also haven’t had a healthy Rob Gronkowski in their last two playoff losses.
But getting to the Super Bowl, unfortunately, in the short term, isn’t going to cut it. The bar, as we have noted several times, has been, fairly or unfairly, raised.
The Patriots need another championship. At least, that’s what this move is saying.
It’s a very good sign.
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.