Tom Brady's last contract extension was in May, 2005, the same year he was honored as Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
He was 27 years old and fresh off a hot streak of winning 3 Super Bowl Championships in 4 years. Peyton Manning was one year into his $14.2 million a year deal with the Colts and Brady could have stood firm or held out - demanding that with three rings he deserved to be the highest paid QB in the league. But he didn't need that.
According to a Peter King article at the time:
"To be the highest-paid, or anything like that, is not going to make me feel any better,'' [Brady] told me. "That's not what makes me happy. In this game, the more one player gets, the more he takes away from what others can get. Is it going to make me feel any better to make an extra million, which, after taxes, is about $500,000? That million might be more important to the team.''
Read those words over again. I mean, how many guys in sports history, on the verge of signing the biggest contract they'll probably ever negotiate, have said to the team: "Hey Mr. Kraft! I really don't want that much money. Just be somewhat fair, OK? And have a nice day ..."?
The mark of Brady's self-assuredness and humility about his place in the football galaxy is that when he signed his six-year, $60 million contract in the middle of last week, I'm told he didn't even go out and celebrate. Neither he, his family nor his representative leaked the contract; I'm also told Brady's dad found out about the deal from a reporter.
The deal is about $4 million a year less than Manning's, $3 million a year less than Mike Vick's, who's really going to have to go out and perform for that deal to pay off for Atlanta. Give or take a few BMWs, Brady's contract averages out to about what Donovan McNabb and Chad Pennington make.
Brady not being concerned about his current contract is just him being true to his character. He has confidence it will work out, he won't worry about it, and he plans to "work his butt off" in the meantime because he is a professional.
Check out USA Today's interactive chart to find NFL player salaries from any year from 2000-2009, that can be sorted by team, player, position and year. I used it to sort quarterback salaries for different years, and it's a pretty interesting and useful tool.