- Maddie Meyer/Getty
- The New England Patriots restructured some of Tom Brady’s contract and gave him an extra $5 million in incentives this season.
- According to a report, the deal also pushed money back into 2019 and increased the money the Patriots would be responsible for if he is traded, cut, or retires.
- The deal may hint that the Patriots are confident that Brady will play in 2019.
- The incentives may also be a way to make Brady prove he can continue to play like a top-five quarterback.
Tom Brady has given up millions during his NFL career, but last week, the New England Patriots gave him a way to make some of it back.
According to reports, the Patriots gave Brady $5 million in incentives this season, tied to being in the top five in various statistical categories.
If Brady hits all of them, he can make $20 million this season, a hefty number, but one that still falls short of most top quarterbacks. It’s unclear why the Patriots gave him money in the form of incentives rather than doing a new deal, as they have in the past.
But according to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, the deal also may contain a subtle hint about Brady’s future with the team.
The Patriots did restructure some of Brady’s deal this year. Whereas he had a base salary of $10 million, with a $4 million signing bonus (plus $1 million in in-game incentives), the Patriots instead turned it into a $10 million signing bonus (meaning he got money upfront) and changed his base salary to $4 million.
According to Volin, that doesn’t change Brady’s cap number this year, but it did push some money back into 2019, raising his cap number from $22 million to $27 million. The deal also raised his dead cap number (money a team owes a player if he gets traded, cut, or retires).
In essence, the Patriots gave Brady some money upfront now, while locking themselves into more money in the future. That’s a bold move for a team to make with a 41-year-old quarterback.
It may be why the Patriots tied $5 million in incentives this year – they may want to make Brady prove he can play at a high level this year if they’re going to lock in money for him next season.
Brady has insisted he wants to play to 45, but in the past year, he has increasingly stated his desire to spend more time with his family. He told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that he finally sees an end up ahead.
Furthermore, as Volin noted, Brady skipped voluntary OTAs (something he hasn’t done in years) but worked out down the street at his facility. Perhaps the Patriots want to make Brady prove himself after waffling on his commitment.
Even with Brady hinting he won’t be around for long, it seems both he and the Patriots are confident he’ll play until at least 2019.