A bad week was made temporarily worse for Patriots fan when they awoke Friday morning to a report that Tom Brady would be skipping offseason organized team activities. The reason? The future Hall of Famer was unhappy with the five-year, $137.5 million contract the 49ers gave Jimmy Garoppolo and Brady wasn't going to show up for OTAs until he got a new deal too.
Except that it isn't true. NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran called the report "off the reservation" and it appears his initial assessment was spot on.
The Boston Herald story that ran Friday cited "sources close to" Brady but, it turns out, those sources were the work of WEEI radio caller "Nick from Boston" who posed as Brady's agent, Don Yee, and texted Herald columnist Ron Borges a made-up account about Brady's unhappiness.
"Somebody tweeted Ron Borges' phone number and I just picked it up and for some reason I just thought, 'Hey, I'll text him and say I'm Don Yee.' And he just went with it for some reason," Nick in Boston explained on WEEI Friday morning (via PFT). "Here's the funny part. Well, it's all funny but here's the funnier part: He tried to call me three times and I just didn't answer. But then I was just like, whatever, screw it, I'll just call him and he's gonna know it's not Don Yee. But I called him and I was just like, 'Hey, Ronnie, it's Don.'"
Nick from Boston even provided as proof the text message he exchanged with Borges while pretending to be Yee. And some of those texts made their way into Borges' column before it was taken off the Herald's website.
When asked about the story, the Herald's sports editor told PFT, "We're looking into it."
Back in January, ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported, among other things, that Brady "seemed liberated" and was "especially excited" when Bill Belichick traded Garoppolo in late October. Brady rebutted the claims during his weekly radio appearance.
"That's just such a, you know, poor characterization," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan at the time. "I've never ... celebrated when someone's been traded, been cut. ... I would say that's disappointing to hear that someone would express that or a writer would express that because it's so far from what my beliefs are about my teammates. I feel like I've had such good relationships with all the quarterbacks I've worked with. I've kept in touch with basically everybody. To characterize that as a certain way is just completely wrong."
In case you're wondering: Brady, who said before and after the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles that he would play in 2018, will make $14 million in each of the final two years of his current contract. Brady averages $20.5 million per year on the deal he signed in 2016, which ranks 15th among all NFL quarterbacks -- and 14 spots behind Garoppolo, who will average $27.5 million on his new deal.