We've entered that slowest of slow periods on the NFL calendar, when mini-camps end, summer begins, and the new football season feels like it'll never get here.
And judging by the feedback from fans and stories in the media, it sometimes seems like Tom Brady and the Patriots agreeing on a new contract will never get here. The silver lining is that the lack of news about the franchise QB's has provided us with great fodder for this week's Debate Friday question.
Will Tom Brady finish his playing career with the Patriots?
(And no, leaving to play for another team and then signing a one-day contract to retire ceremonially as a Patriot doesn't count. We mean, will he play his last NFL game in a Patriots uniform?)
Read the arguments by the writers of Patriots Football Weekly, then cast your vote in this week's poll.
Paul Perillo says, "Yes …"
Basically this question comes down to whether or not you believe Tom Brady will re-sign with the Patriots at some point before the 2011 season. I think he will.
Brady is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2010 season but I don't believe he will ever hit the open market. The Patriots will re-sign him before that, probably before the season even begins. Brady's just too important to the franchise to think otherwise.
In addition to his abundant exploits on the field, Brady is worth much more than that to the organization as a whole. He's a marquee player at the marquee position and that's the most valuable asset any franchise can have. Without a true centerpiece to build around, teams struggle to establish their identity and generally have a hard time winning and keeping fans in the seats.
Brady plays a big part of doing both in New England. Even in his 11th season he's still one of the best quarterbacks in football and he proved last season that he has plenty left to offer. He has said he plans on playing well into his late-30s and there's no reason to doubt him. So giving him a long-term extension would make sense for both sides.
Another factor that should keep Brady here is Bill Belichick. Brady has often said that Belichick is the best in the business. Therefore, why would he want to play for anyone else?
If the Patriots want to keep him and Brady doesn't want to leave, why would anyone feel that he wouldn't finish his career in New England?
Erik Scalavino says, "No …"
Well, Paul, it doesn't come down to whether or not you believe Brady will re-sign before 2011 … because I agree that he will. But when that contract ends, will Brady still have the desire to play, and if so, will the Patriots still want him?
Brady's boyhood football idol, Joe Montana, was Mr. 49er, right? He'd won four Super Bowls, was a consensus Hall of Fame player, had nothing to prove in his career … yet, he still wanted to play football. San Fran wanted to hand the keys over to Steve Young, so Montana went to Kansas City to finish his career.
Today, we have Brett Favre as the latest example of a player who'll always be remembered as the face of one franchise while he plays for someone else. Heck, you can even throw Jason Taylor in the mix now, come to think of it.
There are plenty of other historical examples, too. Joe Namath with the Rams. Emmitt Smith with the Cardinals. Tony Dorsett with the Broncos. Jerry Rice with the Raiders/Seahawks/Broncos. Just when you think your team's best player would never, ever, ever leave you … he does.
Paul also brought up the Belichick factor. Why would Brady want to play for anyone other than Bill? Easy – if Belichick didn't want him anymore. Remember, Bill had no trouble saying 'So long' to New England's previous face-of-the-franchise 10 years ago – just one year after Drew Bledsoe signed a 10-year extension with the Pats, oh, by the way – because, as Belichick is famous for saying, it's better to get rid of a guy too soon than too late.
As competitive as I know Brady is on the field, you can be sure, if that scenario comes to pass with him, he'll want to prove to everyone that he's still got it.
Now it's your turn!Let us know what you think by voting in this week's PFW Debate Friday poll.