Case Keenum

Blizzard of QB money highlights -- again -- the obscene bargain Brady's been for Pats

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File photo

Blizzard of QB money highlights -- again -- the obscene bargain Brady's been for Pats

Free agency officially starts on Wednesday and a passel of passable quarterbacks will make more money than they deserve to make.

The only thing rivaling the absurd cost-benefit equation NFL teams engage in when paying "he might be good" quarterbacks? Higher education in America.

Drew Brees taking a hometown discount that will pay him $50 million over two seasons ($27 million guaranteed) to stay with the Saints brings into greater relief the obscene bargain Tom Brady has cut for the Patriots over the years.

Brees' deal won't even make him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback based on annual compensation.

That's Jimmy Garoppolo -- he of the seven career starts -- who signed a five-year, $137.5 million deal with the Niners with $41.7 million guaranteed. Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr will also outpace Brees. Andrew Luck is in a virtual dead-heat with Brees at $24.594 million.

Garoppolo, Stafford and Carr have never won a playoff game. Luck is 3-3 in playoff games but hasn't seen the postseason since 2014 and has played in 22 of the Colts last 48 games.

Brees, who's never been shy about taking what's coming to him, has at least produced. He's going to complete 70 percent of his passes, have about a 3-to-1 TD/INT ratio, be around 8 YPA and be a leader on field and off. The Saints have never been able to look at Brees and say, "He's why we didn't win the Super Bowl."

And yet, despite coming into the NFL a year after Brady, Brees will have made $209 million for playing football by the end of 2018 while Brady will be at $212 million career earnings.

For the hell of it, throw in Brady's 37 career playoff games compared to Brees' 13. A season-and-a-half of playoff football MORE than Brees has played. All for $3 million more. The Patriots probably made that back in parking during the playoffs.

Brady is currently in the final two years of the contract he renegotiated after the 2015 season. By the time the contract ends in 2019, he will have made $60 million for four seasons.

And now Kirk Cousins is signing a fully-guaranteed three-year, $84 million with the Vikings. That will ratchet up Cousins' five-year earnings stretching back to 2016 to $130.633 million. Because he was franchised the past two seasons, those will have been fully guaranteed.

Cousins has never won a playoff game. He's 24-23-1 as a starter. And he was the prize free-agent quarterback. He's now the highest-paid player in football at $28 million, beating out Garoppolo by a nose.

There are more WTF? agreements to come. Case Keenum, who played nobly for the Vikings before coming undone in the NFC Championship Game, is signing with Denver. He'll make $36 million over two years, just a snuggle below Brady's $20 million per season. At least it's half the length of the four-year, $72 million deal Brock Osweiler got in 2016, a deal that will be the gold standard for taking a flamethrower to American currency.

None of this is breaking news. Even though there were occasions when Brady was the highest-paid player in the league by average salary or guarantees, his pay has never been commensurate with what his value would be if he were on the open market.

And any moron with opposing thumbs and working eyesight can read myriad stories about how out of whack quarterback salaries are, have been and always will be. The greater point -- as free agency looms and Patriots left tackle Nate Solder is being courted by multiple teams -- is what the Patriots will do with the money Brady saves them this year?

With more than $20 million in cap room, no obvious successor to Solder in house, Rob Gronkowski mulling retirement and last year's most productive back -- Dion Lewis -- on the open market as well, where will the Patriots' priorities lie when it comes to spreading around the money Brady's helped save them over the years?

Meanwhile, for those who thought the Patriots should have just pulled the ripcord on Brady and kept Garoppolo, the Niners will take a $37 million cap hit for Garoppolo this year. Brady's is $22 million -- the highest it's ever been.

Brady's not just the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He's also been the NFL's greatest bargain.

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Report: Case Keenum intends to sign with Denver Broncos

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Report: Case Keenum intends to sign with Denver Broncos

It looks like the first domino has fallen in this season's quarterback chase.

Case Keenum almost led the Vikings all the way to the Super Bowl this past season, falling just short against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

There were many questions as to how Minnesota would handle their quarterback situation heading forward. It looks like Keenum is definitely out of the equation.

According to a report from Adam Schefter, John Elway is signing Case Keenum, and the former Viking will be a member of the Denver Broncos next season.

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Patriots don't need to apologize for anything

Patriots don't need to apologize for anything

When the Steel Curtain Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl of the ‘70s, which quarterbacks did they go through to do it?

How about Joe Montana and the Niners when San Fran began its dynasty back in 1981? 

Or the Steve Young Niners in 1994 when San Fran won its last?

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Yeah, most wouldn’t remember. It gets lost in the fog of time. And, really, what does it matter that it was Bob Griese, Dan Pastorini and Vince Ferragamo for the Steelers. Or Scott Brunner, Danny White and Ken Anderson for Montana and the Niners. Or Erik Kramer, Troy Aikman and Stan Humphries for the ‘90s Niners. 

Play golf long enough, you’ll hear the phrase, “Nobody asks, ‘How?’ They ask, ‘How many?’"

If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, it will be completely forgotten in just a few years that the last four quarterbacks standing in the 2017 playoffs were Tom Brady, Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Blake Bortles.

Well, maybe not completely. But mostly. 

In winning five Lombardis, the Patriots have dealt with their would-be dynasties (Rams and Seahawks),  the MVPs  (Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Steve McNair, LaDainian Tomlinson, Matt Ryan) and a squadron of present and future Hall of Famers. 

Are they supposed to wear a black armband to commemorate the AFC teams that couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain? A helmet decal in memoriam of the quarterbacks who couldn’t stay healthy? A moment of silence for all the brain-dead coaching decisions that came before?

Is it on them to apologize for the “tomato canzzzz” they’ve knocked down over the years? Of course not. It’s not their fault they’ve dominated the 2000s any more than it’s the hallowed Celtics fault for dominating a six-team NBA. 

If title No. 6 comes for Tom Brady against forgettable competition, that doesn’t leave any more smear on his legacy than it would if people ever noticed that Bill Russell shot 44 percent from the field and 56 percent from the line over his career.

Great is great. No need to apologize for the ineptitude of those around you. 

There are those who walk among us thinking the Patriots should do that. They are the ones who sit in their darkened dens watching black-and-white highlights of the Impossible Dream Red Sox, clutching a 1967 Red Sox pennant in one hand, a Narragansett in the other, face illuminated by the candles flickering from their shrine to Yaz. 

Those Red Sox supposedly changed everything by losing in the World Series. Seven games, though. It took seven games. So for decades, paeans were penned for them. Captain Carl didn’t need pliability and hydration, he was huffing on heaters in the clubhouse. Man’s man. Owner Tom Yawkey didn’t bar certain reporters from Super Bowl breakfasts. Dick Williams engaged with the media, dammit!

Robert Kraft may be more progressive than Yawkey in terms of race relations and Belichick has not been spotted nude on a hotel balcony as Williams was. Still, it’s worth noting that Brady, Kraft and Belichick ought to be ashamed of themselves for picking on the rest of the NFL like this. The ’67 Sox had the grace to lose. Remember that. 

Anyway, since the 2017 Patriots will not be teleporting their 53 to another, more competitive season, let’s look at this football Leviathan in Foxboro. 

Because, after speed-bumping the Titans (#AsExpected), what’s overlooked is that Patriots are not that overwhelming. 

Their best defensive player and most reliable skill position player – Donta Hightower and Julian Edelman – are long, long gone. The offense revolves around two of the best that have ever played their positions – Brady and Rob Gronkowski – a castoff nobody else in the league wanted (Dion Lewis), a wiry, aging rabid ferret at wide receiver that everyone hated when he got here (Danny Amendola), and another wide receiver that everyone seems to hate now (Brandin Cooks). 

Defensively, the glue-guy in their front-seven is Kyle Van Noy. The Lions didn’t have any further use for Van Noy when they traded him in 2016. They rely defensively on Elandon Roberts – a very short NFL linebacker – and a chunk of their eight sacks were recorded by guys named Marquis Flowers, Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise. Do you know what Lawrence Guy looks like? No, you do not. Don’t lie. 

The guys on injured reserve aside from Hightower and Edelman include wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, valuable young run-stopper Vincent Valentine, Marcus Cannon (a very good right tackle), a useful linebacker (Shea McClellin), a great special teams player (Nate Ebner) and a rookie who looked like he might help with pass rush right away (Derek Rivers). Toss in Cyrus Jones too for the hell of it. 

Now the Patriots will face Jacksonville – which may have finally stuck a fork in the Roethlisberger-Tomlin Era Steelers – on Saturday night. 

How desperate are self-obsessed Patriots fans and media to find a boogeyman to keep them awake at night?

They believe that 71-year-old Tom Coughlin – who isn’t even the damn coach but is a Jaguars executive – is reason to sleep with the lights on. 

He’s not. And neither is Blake Bortles or Leonard Fournette. 

The complement of defensive talent is easily the best the Patriots have seen this season. But they are young and dumb. They are going to attack and pursue and there will be plays when Tom Brady looks completely mortal. Which in itself is a cause for great concern, as we’ve seen. But the Brady and Josh McDaniels will hoist the Jags on their own petard and use their speed and youth against them (even though they don’t have near the offensive talent Pittsburgh does). 

The chortling will begin if/when the confetti flies in Foxboro next week. The Patriots are proud of beating Mariota and Bortles…LOL!!! Joe Montana was 4-0 in Super Bowls!!!! They should be embarrassed!

The fine print might tell a different story. But nobody reads the fine print anymore. So the Patriots will probably have to settle for a “Sorry, not sorry” and begin planning for Minny.

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