Until now, the New England Patriots have yet to sign veteran quarterback Tom Brady to a contract extension. The soon-to-be 42 years old Brady is in the last year of the two-year, $30 million deal. If he’s not signed before the season starts, Brady will be playing on a contract year for the first time in his career and there is a possibility that he might turn free agent after the 2019 season. Recently, Brady downplayed his lack of contract extension, saying he’s focused on leading the Patriots to an NFL-record seventh Super Bowl title.

Currently, the Patriots are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl trophies each. Brady also expressed appreciation for Patriots CEO Robert Kraft for giving him the opportunity to play in the NFL after the team took him as the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Despite Brady’s pronouncement, the debate on whether he deserves a contract extension and a huge payday remain. As of now, Brady is ranked 19th among quarterbacks in terms of average salary, earning just $15 million per season, which pales in comparison with the salary of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has an average annual salary of $35 million after signing a four-year deal worth $140 million.

Smith, Kellerman side with Brady

Recently, ESPN’s “First Take” hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman both weighed in on the Brady contract issue. Usually, Smith and Kellerman took different sides while tackling important issues, but they sided with Brady on this matter. According to Smith, Brady deserves a contract extension and a huge payday after sacrificing for most of his career with the Patriots.

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“Tom Brady has had New England’s back, let’s be very very clear about that. Restructuring his deals, taking pay cuts, taking less money, he’s done all of that” said Smith, referring to Brady’s decision to give the Patriots a hometown discount while negotiating his deal to allow the team to surround him with good players who will help him win. In a rare moment, Kellerman, who is known for his vocal stance against Brady and the Patriots, also took Brady’s side, saying the veteran quarterback deserves to be rewarded for the sacrifices that he took to make the team successful. “So, it is foul for the Patriots or for anyone to question Tom Brady about his contract or to make him play it out,” said Kellerman.

Brady, Patriots will be better in 2019

Despite the retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski, former Patriots center Damien Woody believes that the Patriots will be better in the 2019 season. “I hate to break it to a lot of people, but I think the Patriots are going to be better than they were last year,” said Woody, who now works as NFL analyst for ESPN after playing 12 seasons with the Patriots, Detroit Lions, and the New York Jets.

Woody, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, said New England will be dangerous on the defensive side of the ball. “You heard Tom Brady say it yesterday post-practice how much of a struggle it is to go against that defense,” said Woody.

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