If there is one athlete to model your career on, Tom Brady is probably the man to do it on.
Arguably the greatest winner in the history of sports, Brady was able to win a record seven Super Bowl’s over 23 seasons in a league that makes it difficult to repeat success with a hard salary cap and the constant turnover of players.
A big reason as to why Brady was able to win sustainable throughout his career – besides his level of elite play – was his decisions in the off-season. While being the best quarterback in the league, Brady was never the highest-paid player and was never really close to the top earners.
Instead, the legendary quarterback regularly chose to take less money in order for the team to keep other key players around. Should Brady have become the top earner, the salary cap would have made it difficult for him to keep all of his star teammates.
This has been almost exclusively the case for other teams once they win a Super Bowl, with players departing for larger contracts once their star quarterback gets the big deal.
In recent weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles ( Jalen Hurts ) and Baltimore Ravens ( Lamar Jackson ) made their quarterbacks the highest paid players in NFL history. And while they are deserving of those deals, they will undoubtedly hurt the all-around strength of their teams moving forward – having to move on key contributors elsewhere to make room.
Almost no-one would argue that both Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes and Cincinnati Bengals ace Joe Burrow are the top two quarterbacks in the league, and should therefore be deserving of the top deals too. However, it appears that they do not want to be given that, but instead follow the Brady approach to a certain degree.
On Wednesday, Mahomes said: “I worry about (my) legacy & winning rings than making money at this point. I’ll never do anything that’ll hurt this team. You want to keep the bar pushing. It’s not about being the highest-paid guy.”
Mahomes has already signed his deal, penning a 10-year, $450 million deal back in 2020 – the most expensive deal in NFL history in scope. However, it sees him make around $39 million per season at this point in the deal – significantly less than the averages of Hurts’ and Jackson’s deal.
Burrow has yet to sign his extension, but has given every indication that he’s not looking to be made the highest paid player, either. He said earlier this month: “I’m pretty clear on what I want in the contract and what I think is best for myself and the team. So we’re on the road to making that happen.
“Whenever you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that’s always on your mind. You want that to be a focal point, so we’re working to make that happen.”
The Bengals have to pay Burrow’s star receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase in the coming years, with the quarterback openly speaking about him wanting to see them remain with the team to greatly increase their Super Bowl aspirations.