Tom Brady has agreed to a contract extension with the New England Patriots that extends through the 2017 season. The deal is reportedly worth $27 million over three years, which might seem like the Patriots pulled off a highway robbery on one of the greatest quarterback to ever lace up a pair of cleats. Well, maybe not a robbery, but with Brady making an average of only $8 million from 2015-2017, I would have to say that the New England has pulled off a deal for the ages.
Now you may be asking yourself why the 3-time Super Bowl Champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, and 2-time league MVP would take such a massive pay cut. His cap numbers, which totaled just under $22 million over each of the next two seasons fell to $14.8 million this year, and $13.8 million next year. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are each set to make $20 million next year, and Joe Flacco may receive an offer from the Baltimore Ravens that exceeds the $20 million dollar mark.
Tom Brady is a rare breed. In an era of egotistic, overpaid professional athletes who would rather sit games out than be shorted a few million dollars, Brady helps us remember why we love sport. He has shown time and time again that he is willing to put his team’s needs before his own, and his latest drop in salary best exemplifies this.
The Patriots have several key free agents this offseason, and with Brady’s pay cut they’re able to free up $15 million in cap space. It is clear he plans on retiring wearing the blue, red, and silver, and he seems to really believe that the team’s front office will make the necessary moves for the Pats to make a run at another Super Bowl title.
A big question surrounding Patriots’ camp last offseason was the contract situation of Wes Welker. He was seeking a long-term deal with New England but eventually was franchise tagged, as the two sides never agreed on terms. Welker, who has recorded 5 straight 100-catch seasons, has clearly been Brady’s favorite target over the past few campaigns. All signs pointed to Welker departing for the free agent pool after the 2012 season as he will likely seek a Vincent Jackson type deal, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 5 years/$55 million last year. New England could use the freed up cap room to lure Welker back to the Pats, or could head in a different direction and focus on improving a weak secondary and pass rush. Other free agents include cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receiver Julian Edelman, and tackle Sebastian Vollmer.
The Tom Brady led New England Patriots have truly been the gold standard in the NFL over the past 12 years. He will likely retire a Patriot and by career’s end may be regarded as the greatest quarterback of all-time. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him lead my hometown team on Sunday’s since 2000. It’s easy to get swept up by the hard hits, athletic catches, and the incessant trash talk the NFL produces, but Brady has always had one goal. In the words of the great Al Davis, Brady wants to “just win, baby.”