- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The morning after Tom Brady signed a four-year contract extension that is expected to be finalized Friday, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, while not commenting on the deal directly, expressed his feelings bluntly: "There is no quarterback I'd rather have than Tom Brady."
The coach and quarterback often are linked because they are in leadership positions, and the Belichick-Brady combination was the defining aspect of the team's past decade, which included three Super Bowl championships.
"I think our goals are the same, and I think generally speaking, we have a similar way of achieving those goals," Belichick said. "I think that works well together. I certainly enjoy that, my association with Tom. Those things he brings, I believe in. I think he believes in some of the things I believe in, so that helps."
Brady's contract is worth $72 million and guarantees him $48.5 million, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The extension, which will be filed with the league Friday, will be added onto the final year of Brady's contract and runs through 2014, when he will be 37. Brady, 33, has said he wants to play until he's 40.
Brady, who was picked by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, is making $6.5 million this season in the final year of an earlier four-year, $48 million extension. The new deal will make him the league's top-paid player in terms of average annual salary.
Brady walked through the locker room when reporters were present Friday, but declined to speak about his extension. He also did not answer questions about the car accident he was involved in on Thursday morning.
Although both Belichick and Brady were mum on the new deal, owner Robert Kraft wasn't shy when commenting to ESPNBoston.com on Friday afternoon.
"We're really excited that we have one of the finest players playing the game at the helm of our team for the next five playing seasons," he said. "It's sort of a continuation of a cycle. We started with Vince Wilfork, then Tully Banta-Cain, Leigh Bodden, Stephen Gostkowski. We've secured some pretty good players.
"This one [with Brady] was complicated and we committed in an uncertain environment given the labor situation. Both sides felt it was the right thing to do, and sometimes you show real leadership when doing the right thing."
Wide receiver Wes Welker, one of Brady's favorite targets, said Friday of Brady's deal: "Nobody deserves it more. I'm happy for him," he said. "It's probably been a long process. I'm happy he's here for a long time."
Welker said there has been no noticeable change over the last two days.
"He is still the same Tom to us," he said. "We're still going to razz him and give him a hard time about all the money he's made, and everything like that, and tell him why he's not dressed better. Sometimes he slacks in that area."
Asked how many dinners it might cost Brady now that he has the new deal, Welker laughed.
"He always [paid for] them before," he said. "[He] definitely [will] now."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.
3dEric D. Williams
2dMel Kiper Jr.