Former Patriots LB opens up about Bill Belichick's cutthroat negotiating strategy

Former Patriots LB opens up about Bill Belichick's cutthroat negotiating strategy

NFL

Former Patriots LB opens up about Bill Belichick's cutthroat negotiating strategy

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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick built a dynasty when no one believed it was possible — in the area of free agency — but he didn’t necessarily pull off that incredible feat by being a nice guy.

Belichick has won six Super Bowl rings since taking over for the Patriots in 2000, showing the incredible ability to revamp and re-tool the team’s roster with each passing year. Unfortunately, that entails making tough business decisions with veterans, and also attempting to talk guys into pay cuts. Just look at Tom Brady, who’s won six Super Bowls, and has been paid like an average quarterback during that time — taking sacrifices so the team can build its roster.

Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson played for the Patriots before Belichick arrived, and also under BB, from 1995-2004. He shined some light on Belichick’s negotiating strategy, and it’s pretty brutal.

“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,” Johnson said on NBC Sports Boston’s “Arbella Early Edition,” as transcribed by NESN. “I was like, ‘Woah, OK, 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?’”

Nice guys finish last.

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