Ted Johnson

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

To no one's surprise, negotiating contracts with Bill Belichick isn't the most pleasant experience.

Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson spent his entire NFL career in Foxboro, but he did have to go through the negotiating process with his longtime head coach.

Thursday on Arbella Early Edition, Johnson explained how contract discussions with Belichick went from his side of the negotiation table.

When I first was being coached by Bill and had my first kind of issue with my contract, Bill reached out to me personally which usually does not happen. I was like, 'Woah, okay, I have an agent.' He was like, 'Yeah I was going to call him.' He wanted to gauge my interest and see how I reacted by him calling me.

Bill will nickel and dime. There was a year that I had -- I played 15 percent of the plays the year before, and he came to ask me for a pay cut. He said, 'Well Ted, you only played 15 percent of the plays.' 'Yeah, Bill, did you know I broke my foot in Week 1 so I missed the next 10 games?' He doesn't care about that stuff. So it is hardball, he doesn't care, he will use the stats against you, and won't factor in all the things that went into those poor stats.

He's not going to blow you away with an offer. He's going to make you sweat it out and make you think, 'Do I really want to leave what I'm comfortable with, or stay here and take less than what other people would offer?'

The Patriots have several players set to hit the free agent market, including quarterback Tom Brady.

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Johnson says as a player, it's difficult to take emotion out of the equation during contract negotiations. But for Belichick, it's simply business as usual. Even when it involves a player of Brady's stature.

I got emotional. I got emotional and it probably affected our relationship to some degree for a little bit. Pride got in the way.

And that may be the case here with Tom [Brady] where pride can get in the way. And so with Bill, he's an emotionless machine, man. That was the kind of feeling I got from him that he takes emotion out of it and that's why he's as good as he is. 

Brady will officially become a free agent on March 18 if he and the Patriots cannot come to an agreement on a contract extension before then. Knowing how Belichick operates, either he or Brady likely will have to put pride aside if the six-time Super Bowl champion is to finish his career in New England.

Bill Belichick explains why Patriots didn't call timeout on final drive of the first half

Bill Belichick explains why Patriots didn't call timeout on final drive of the first half

Before halftime in their game against the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots had the ball on their own 25-yard line. They had 57 seconds on the clock, three timeouts left and potentially could have tried to mount a scoring drive to close the half.

Instead, the Patriots ran the ball twice and elected to head into the locker room.

And after the 27-24 loss that the team suffered, that decision came under scrutiny.

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When asked why the Patriots didn't call a timeout after either of their run plays, Bill Belichick provided a pretty simple answer.

"We would have done that if we got a first down," Belichick said.

And as for why the Patriots elected not to call a timeout before Miami punted the ball in order to give themselves more time to hold onto the ball, Belichick acknowledged that he didn't want to give the Dolphins a chance to get the ball back. 

"[We wanted to] see what kind of field position we got, and if we could advance the ball, then we'd take them," Belichick said. "But we didn't want to give the ball back with their timeouts at the end of the half either."

So essentially, the Patriots were playing it safe. After all, the game was tied at the time, they were getting the ball back after halftime, and their offense wasn't doing much at that point in the game. Tom Brady even admitted that when discussing the decision after the contest. 

"We weren't executing great, so I can understand the decision but... It was a lot of things today," Brady said.

But could Belichick's decision also have been a message to the Patriots offense and Tom Brady? That's how former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson viewed the move and explained his reasoning on NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Postgame Live.

"I think that was a calculated thing," Johnson said. "My feeling — my gut — on this is that Bill was sending a message to Tom. That's what it was. I mean, there's no other explanation other than 'I don't believe in you, Tom. Tom, you know what? You don't deserve another chance to put points up. This is on you, Tom.' 

"The first two plays when they did get the ball back were run plays and then they ran it out. You know what the first two plays were to open the second half for the Patriots? Two run plays, can't convert on third down, punt. It was if they were like, 'You know what, we're done putting the ball in your hands, Tom.' "

But why exactly would Belichick elect to do this knowing that missing out on a chance to score could hurt the team?

"Here's the thing with Bill," Johnson said. "Sometimes he cuts off his nose to spite his face — Malcolm Butler — where you're like, 'What are you doing, Bill? What's the overall lesson? What are you trying to say to this offense?' It's Tom Brady, for crying out loud... To not trust your offense in that situation might have cost you the game, Bill."

There certainly is an argument to be made that the decision cost the Patriots some points. While it can also be argued that the team still should have been able to beat the Dolphins after the half, the decision will deservingly be questioned because it contributed to the Patriots losing not only the game, but also a first-round bye.

Why win over Bengals didn't inspire confidence in Patriots offense

Why win over Bengals didn't inspire confidence in Patriots offense

Sure, the New England Patriots took down the lowly Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to improve to 11-3 and clinch their 11th straight playoff berth. But the 34-13 win did little to convince anyone the scuffling offense is turning a corner.

Tom Brady had two touchdown passes, but only 128 passing yards to go along with an 86.6 passer rating. The offensive line did little to hold up its end of the bargain, and the receiving corps outside of rookie N'Keal Harry didn't make much of an impact.

On NBC Sports Boston's Postgame Live, former Patriots backup quarterback Matt Cassel explained why the victory didn't make him feel any better about the offense going forward.

"No, I don't [feel better about the offense]. I've got to be completely honest," Cassel said. "I felt better about the rush offense today. It was a season-high in terms of rushing ... I think Sony Michel had his best production of the year ... However, the passing game continues to struggle.

"Tom Brady with a season-low 128 yards passing. I mean, [Mohamed] Sanu who we talked about in pregame, we wanted to see him get going. He had eight targets, only two receptions on the day, a drop ... [Julian] Edelman looked like a shadow of himself today, obviously injuries have taken a little bit of a toll on him ...

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OK, so Cassel isn't feeling optimistic. How about former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson?

"Are you kidding me? I can't believe how inept this offense is at this point of the season," Johnson said. "If they have issues, they usually fix them by the end of the year. You see kind off -- at least some glimmer of hope in trying to turn things around. This offense looks as bad now as it ever has at any point in the season. This team with this offense, it's not going to go far in the playoffs. It just isn't."

Things aren't about to get any easier for New England as it'll host one of the league's best defensive teams Saturday in the Buffalo Bills.

Hear everything the PGL crew had to say in the video below:

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