Tom Brady is now the Mother Teresa of football. His generosity lives not only in his heart, but also in his wallet. Possibly other places too, but you’ll have to ask Gisele.
Brady signed a three-year contract extension today, and the digits attached to his new inking represent something rare in today’s NFL: a player who doesn’t want money. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has the details:
Brady, a league source told SI.com, is signing a contract with New England that will pay him significantly less money than the market will bear, in large part to help the Patriots stay competitive for the next five seasons.
Amazingly, according to the source, the deal is for an eye-poppingly conservative $27 million, which is less than half his worth by any measure.
The extension will pay Brady a $3 million signing bonus immediately, in addition to salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017. Brady told Sports Illustrated five years ago he wanted to play until he was 40, at least, and this will accomplish that. He turns 40 on Aug. 3, 2017
First of all, whoa.
Now that we’ve recovered, know this: Brady is quite familiar with being a good little Patriot. In 2005 he agreed to a six-year deal worth $60 million, and as King also notes, at the time that was significantly lower than the average annual value of Peyton Manning’s paycheck ($14.2 million). This time around, Brady had already expressed a desire to play until he’s 40 (he’s currently 35), but in his mind the equation was simple. He’d rather spend his final five seasons consistently playing for a championship-caliber team, instead of just collecting his Benjamins and making it rain.
His current contract was set to expire at the end of the 2014 season, when Brady is 37. Manning will celebrate his 37th birthday in just under a month, yet he’ll make $20 million next year, the same average annual value of Drew Brees’ contract, and the same number of zeros Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is pursuing.
Yet here’s Brady, just chillin’ and accounting for $13.8 million of the Patriots’ salary cap next year after agreeing to this new deal. Taking that further, Brady will account for $28.6 million in cap space over the next two years after previously occupying about $22 million yearly, which results in a savings of $15 million.
Got all those numbers? Cool, here’s more. King has the exact breakdown of Brady’s new contract that will most likely ensure he retires as a Patriot:
2013: $13.8 million
2014: $14.8 million
2015: $13 million
2016: $14 million
2017: $15 million
While the long-term space is swell, the here and now was most concerning for the Patriots and their cap space. They had about $18.6 million in space, which sounds nice and roomy until you consider how much Wes Welker is set to eat up if the pats are forced to franchise him. The goal is obviously to sign Welker long term — a goal that just became much easier — but now if negotiations hit a snag before the tagging deadline, Welker’s $11.4 million tag is much more affordable.
That was Brady’s end game; to provide the space for management to retain key players (Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib are also pending free agents), and pursue other key pieces. Danny Amendola, perhaps? He’d be a fun fit after the Brandon Lloyd failure if Bill Belichick is willing to take a risk on his oft-injured body. That’s a more realistic option now, whereas a few hours ago the fit was difficult. The impact of this contract on Flacco’s negotiations is extremely minimal, because the ravens quarterback is much younger and entering his prime. Still, the comedy of watching the Ravens pay Flacco over $6 million per year more than Brady will give us great offseason entertainment.
Brady wins, because he’s still getting $60 million in guaranteed money (in effect making the new contract fully guaranteed), which is enough cash for at least 12 water slides that make Tom Tom scream with glee, and he’ll still get to win a lot of football games.
In conclusion, Tom Brady’s life is better than your life.