On Monday, the New England Patriots announced that they had signed quarterback Tom Brady to a three-year extension; almost assuring the future Hall of Famer will retire a Patriot at the ripe old age of 40.
While rumors of a contract extension began to swirl, few could have expected that Brady would not only take $8 million next season and $7 million less over the second year as part of the restructuring, but that the three final years are far below the fair market price for a quarterback of Brady’s caliber. The three year extension is valued at only $27 million, approximately what most Pro Bowl quarterbacks will earn in just two seasons.
In comparison, fellow quarterback legend Peyton Manning is expected to make $20 million in 2013 while conference rival Ben Roethlisberger has a 2013 cap hit of over $20 million for 2013. In addition fellow passing great Drew Brees is slated to earn $17.4 million next season.
Not only does Brady’s reduced two-year annual salary pale in comparison to his peers; but the final three years of his deal are scheduled to earn Brady a paltry $27 million. This amount would be nearly half that of his peer group. This will represent the second time that Brady would restructure or sign a contract that paled in comparison to players of his talents and accomplishments. After winning three Super Bowl titles, Brady would sign a six year $60 million contract in 2005. That $10 million annual salary would be $4.7 million less than Peyton Manning would sign during that same off-season.
While an act such as Brady’s is not new for him nor is it unique for the NFL, this latest act of fiscal pragmatism may not have come at a more critical juncture in the franchise’s history. With the salary savings, the Patriots will now have the financial wherewithal to re-sign Brady’s favorite target Wes Welker; who has been seeking a multi-year contract for a market fair salary. With an additional $8 million free for the next two seasons, New England can take that money and immediately invest it in the diminutive receiver.
In addition to Welker, there are other current free agents that the Patriots may now have the financial freedom to offer contracts to; ensuring that a perennial Super Bowl contender may stick together for at least another run or more at a Lombardi Trophy. Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and quarterback Aquib Talib are two other prominent Patriots free agents that the team now has more resources at their disposal for which to sign them.
Make no mistake, Tom Brady should never have to worry about money for himself or his family. In fact, part of the re-negotiated contract included a $30 million signing bonus, which in itself is enough for most American’s to live on comfortably for more than a lifetime. But in a sports world where players annually hold out for better contracts or seek personal acclaim over team accomplishments, this act by Brady further cements him as not only one of the game’s greatest performers, but also one its most team-oriented stars.
Multi-Sport Columnist or TitleTown Sports
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Freelance Beat Writer – Yahoo! Voices