While other quarterbacks, quarterbacks who haven’t accomplished what Tom Brady has or are the caliber of quarterback Brady is, have been signing mega-contracts left and right, Brady, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, has been a relative bargain for much of his career.
That’s likely going to change.
Performance-based incentives being added
Via ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots are making adjustments to Brady’s contract, adding incentives that will allow the 41-year-old five-time Super Bowl winner to earn up to $5 million more this season.
Compensation update: Patriots are adding up to $5 million in performance-based incentives to Tom Brady’s contract, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2018
Brady signed a two-year contract extension in 2016 which expires at the end of the 2019 league year.
That contract calls for Brady’s base salary in both 2018 and ’19 to be $14 million, with a $1 million roster bonus each year.
Given what others teams are committing to quarterbacks, $15 million for Brady is peanuts. Even $20 million, if he hits all markers, is reasonable from a relative standpoint.
Brady has long been underpaid
Since he’s never hit free agency, Brady has never maximized his earning potential, and he’s agreed to team-friendly contracts under the idea that New England has more money to spend on the team as a whole if it’s not committing a large chunk of its salary cap money to him.
He’s barely gotten a raise in over a decade. Consider: before this season, Brady has never counted for more than $17.4 million against the salary cap for the Patriots.
But taking less in his pocket to in theory give the team more flexibility hasn’t always worked in his favor. In 2013, New England let Wes Welker walk in free agency rather than increase its contract offer to him; Welker was not only an incredible productive receiver in New England, he was also one of Brady’s best friends.
In recent years, Brady has worked out the major points of his contract with team owner Robert Kraft, letting his agent, Don Yee, deal with the finer points.
Patriots open preseason Thursday night
New England opens its preseason schedule on Thursday night, hosting Washington.
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