New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady enters the 2019 NFL season with $23 million salary and the fourth-highest career earnings haul in league history, but the 42-year-old star began his pro career with a far more humble paycheck.
As an unheralded sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady played the first few seasons of his career on a minimum contract that paid him just $193,000 as a rookie. By the end of the 2001 season, Brady had shocked the league by rising from fourth string on the Patriots’ depth chart to Super Bowl champion.
Through 19 NFL seasons, Brady has won six Super Bowls and earned more than $212 million in salary and bonuses, more than any other player except fellow quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Drew Brees. Despite that massive tally, Brady has routinely accepted deals at far below market value or adjusted his scheduled pay to provide the Patriots with more salary cap flexibility.
Brady reached terms on a contract extension this week that will pay him $23 million for the 2019 season, which ranks sixth among the NFL’s starting quarterbacks. He is set to earn $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021, though both Brady and the Patriots plan to renegotiate the deal’s terms each offseason, according to multiple reports.
FOX Business breaks down major contract milestones in Brady’s career below. Several of the contracts were later altered from their announced terms.
Brady entered the NFL on a minimum contract. He earned $193,000 as a rookie and just $298,000 in a 2001 season that culminated in a Super Bowl win.
Months prior to the 2002 season, Brady agreed to a four-year contract extension worth roughly $30 million, including a $10 million signing bonus.
After winning the second and third Super Bowls of his career in 2003 and 2004, Brady agreed to a six-year, $60 million contract extension that included a $14.5 million signing bonus, the Boston Herald reported.
Brady signed a four-year contract extension worth $72 million, with $48.5 million guaranteed, the Boston Globe reported. At the time, the deal established Brady as the highest-paid player in NFL history based on average annual salary – a title that he has rarely held during his career despite massive spikes in quarterback income.
Amid the longest championship drought of his career, Brady signed a five-year contract extension worth $57 million – an amount considered well below market value for a player widely regarded as the NFL’s best quarterback. The contract included a $30 million signing bonus, according to the Boston Herald.
With fallout from the infamous "DeflateGate" scandal looming, Brady signed a four-year contract worth $60 million.
Billed as a two-year, $70 million extension, Brady’s latest contract will pay him $23 million for the 2019 season, with future pay to be determined on a year-by-year basis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.