Tom Brady has agreed to a 3 year 27 million dollar extension. That’s not a typo. For comparison’s sake, Mark Sanchez signed a 3 year 40 million dollar extension last off-season (LOL), while Peyton Manning and Drew Brees respectively signed 5 year 95 million dollar and 5 year 100 million dollar contracts last off-season. If Brady wanted to test the open market, he could have probably gotten 27 million YEARLY. Peyton Manning was offered 25 million per year by the Titans as a free agent last off-season and that was off of 4 neck surgeries. He eventually turned it down for a better opportunity in Denver, but we’re still talking about Brady taking about a 1/3 of his true market value.
This is why Brady is the fucking man. He had two goals out of this contract: he wanted to retire a Patriot and leave on his own terms (this contract will take him through his age 40 season in 2017 and is fully guaranteed) and he wanted the team to have the financial freedom to build a strong supporting cast around him and give him the best chance to win. That’s it. He doesn’t care what he makes. Sure he makes a ton of money through endorsements and through his wife, but most elite level players are just as financially set as he is, but they still want big contracts as a status symbol. Brady just willingly became the most underpaid player in the NFL over the next 5 seasons. Because of this move, the Patriots have 5 more good chances at another ring. I think they get one more.
This extension essentially turns the 33 million over 2 years remaining on his contract into a 5 year, 60 million dollar contract. He’ll make 12 million per year (which is right around Tony Romo and Phillip Rivers money) and free up 7 million in cap space for the Patriots this off-season and 8 million next off-season. From 2015-2017, he’ll remain very, very reasonable priced cap wise, which will allow the Patriots to best build around him. In the immediate future, this deal greatly increases their chances of re-signing Wes Welker, Sebastian Vollmer, and Aqib Talib, along with potential another free agent or two. They will enter free agency with among the most cap room in the NFL, which almost doesn’t seem fair.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Brady agreed to this extension with the promise that the Patriots would use some of the saved money to re-sign Welker, who has caught 561 passes from Brady in 77 regular season games since joining the Patriots in 2007. I’d say there’s at least a 50/50 chance that Welker is re-signed sometime in the next couple of days. That’s an obvious incentive for Brady agreeing to this extension.
Going off of that, not only is this deal an A, but it pretty much assures that every other move they make this off-season will be an A. I was originally lukewarm on the idea of the Patriots bringing back Welker considering his age and how much of his value comes from Brady and the scheme. However, if they bring him back now, they will be doing it to take care of the man who gave them such an unbelievable deal on an extension. How can that be anything other than an A? The same goes for almost any move they can make.
One final point: with Brady being signed through 2017, he is now signed 2 years longer than backup and one time potential successor Ryan Mallett. If Brady does, in fact, play through age 40, Mallett will be in his age 30 season in 2018 when the Patriots’ starting quarterback job finally becomes available. All of a sudden, he doesn’t look like such a young asset and may have more value to the Patriots as a trade chip than anything else.
I think they’d take a 2nd rounder for him if one became available, which it could given the state of this quarterback class, and they might take a 3rd rounder and get their pick back for him. Mallett was a 3rd round pick of the Patriots out of Arkansas in the 2011 NFL Draft. Cleveland is an obvious destination as new VP of Player Personnel Michael Lombardi is a known Mallett supporter from his days as an analyst on NFL Network and is known to be less than impressed with incumbent Brandon Weeden. Cleveland doesn’t have a 2nd round pick after using it on Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft last off-season, but the Patriots could be enticed by their 3rd rounder and a future pick. If Mallett is gone, Tim Tebow and Matt Cassel, two guys who know Josh McDaniels’ system, could be intriguing options as backups in free agency.