Name another team in the NFL who has the money to spend like the New England Patriots, coupled with their success and yet they hold tight to their wallets. In most major sports, it’s all about the contracts and paying for success. Well, the Pats are not the normal franchise. Their motto is “if you want to get paid– go elsewhere, if you want to win– this is the place”. What it boils down to for free agents is– what means more to you– your legacy or signing bonus?
The Patriots have been to seven Super Bowls since 2001 and won five. The team has had 33 different Pro Bowl players and 12 First Team All-Pro players. And yet, their roster is a Jeopardy question just waiting to happen.
Do you remember Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Wes Walker and now LeGarrette Blount? All players helped the success of the Patriots since 2001 but all were let go when it came time to pay the big bucks. At first, Pats fans didn’t understand Bill Belichick and his motto. While some teams cater to a player’s ego, Belichick takes the different approach. It’s team over everything else.
Take the biggest name in the NFL for the past few years and look at his contract.
Tom Brady, winner of five SB’s and currently being mentioned as the Greatest of All-Time ranks 14th in the NFL in contracts. Is that fair? To him and the Patriots, it is. In most cases, Brady will be in the $26-$30M range per but he understands the sacrifice it takes to keep a winning tradition going. Cam Newton makes $20M but no rings and the same can be said for Kirk Cousins ($24M), Carson Palmer ($24M), Andrew Luck ($24M) and now Derek Carr ($25M).
This is how the Pats have managed to stay on top. It’s not about the name on the back of the jersey but the team they all represent. If the Pats wanted to they could have gone out and signed DeSean Jackson or went after Jason Pierre-Paul and offered tons of cash in a 5-year loaded deal but why? Why should they put themselves in a hole like most teams that if a player gets hurt or under performs they are stuck with said player for the next 3-4 years?
While we all sit and question how do they continue to do it– the answer is rather simple. They believe in the dynamic of team play. Everyone has a position to play and a job to do. Brady is great but he doesn’t wish to be paid as the best. He wants the team to resemble a team and not a cap hit.