Former Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Monday, appearing on an afternoon show with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon. As noted previously, Pioli’s appearances are of particular note from this perspective because of his past ties to the Patriots and insight into the organization’s inner workings.
Pioli was asked about building a team over a long period of time, as he was part of with the Patriots, without getting into a situation where the club was handcuffed and unable to make moves in free agency to help itself.
Pioli’s answer came back to quarterback Tom Brady, and his recent contract extension.
“In the case of the Patriots, you have to hope you have players like Tom Brady who are willing to take less to spread out more amongst their team,” Pioli said. “By the time this cycle of contracts is done – Tom Brady just did a new deal, and I don’t even know is going to be in the top seven or eight highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Stop and think about that – all of these guys getting done in and around him, [Tony] Romo just got done, [Aaron] Rodgers is going to get done, [Joe] Flacco – and I’m not even sure if Tommy is in the top seven or eight.”
At that point, Pioli was asked why Brady’s agent, Don Yee, wouldn’t have had it written in Brady’s contract that he would always be in the top three or five of quarterbacks at any time.
“Because it’s not the agent making the decision, and that’s one of the things that’s always been different about Tom Brady," Pioli answered.
"I think his agent, Don Yee, is one of the most respectful and admirable people in the industry – it’s not because he’s taking less. It’s because he puts his name on a contract he knows isn’t in the market value ... Sometimes it ends up being backwards. You have to remember, the agent isn’t the boss. The player is. The agent works for the player. That line gets blurred sometimes, where players allow agents to drive the deal and do what they want.
“That doesn’t mean players should play for less. Please don’t misunderstand me. I never begrudge a player for taking more money or taking a lot of money. That’s their prerogative. But you asked a question ‘how do you balance it with a team like the New England Patriots?’ You have a situation where there is a player there that has allowed the club to create more of a middle class, so to speak. That’s very different."