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?’
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.
Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston