Tom Brady agrees to extension with Patriots, gives team salary cap flexibility
Tom Brady has restructured his contract with the New England Patriots once again, this time agreeing to a three-year, $27 million extension that will keep him with the team through 2017. The deal almost guarantees what most people already suspect: that Brady will retire in New England. More importantly, it gives the team massive salary cap flexibility.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King first reported the deal on Monday afternoon, noting that the extension will pay Brady nearly half of what he is actually worth and would command on the open market. He and the Patriots worked out a similar deal in 2005.
Prior to the extension and restructuring, Brady was set to earn $43.6 million against New England’s salary cap over the next two seasons. The new agreement lowers that number to $28.6 million. The NFL’s salary cap is expected to remain the same at $121 million for the next two seasons before being raised in 2015.
The timing of King’s report hardly seems like a coincidence, as NFL.com reported earlier in the day that the Patriots and Wes Welker could be making progress toward agreeing to a long-term deal before the free agency period begins. It’s no secret that Welker has been Brady’s favorite target and one of the most reliable receivers in the game since he arrived in New England. At age 35, Brady would hate to lose his safety valve.
For those of you who are thinking to yourselves “big deal,” you’re right — in a way. Brady will earn more than $14 million a year over the next five seasons. He also can earn bonuses, will make millions off of endorsements and has a wife that makes more than he does. That being said, Brady’s willingness to restructure his deal for the sake of keeping his team in contention is incredibly rare — let alone doing it twice in a career. It’s not his responsibility to give the team flexibility to sign other players, which is why you don’t hear about other quarterbacks re-working their deals. Whether you’re a Brady fan or not, it would be tough to argue that he doesn’t put the team ahead of himself.