Tom Brady took less money, got a ton of guaranteed money, and may have made it harder for other quarterbacks to cash in

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tom-bradyPeter King reported on Monday that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Patriots for “an eye-poppingly conservative $27 million, which is less than half his worth by any measure.” So from there, the masses began to praise Brady for taking less money than he could’ve made so that the Patriots could enjoy some much needed cap relief.

The praises came hot and heavy.

“What a team player Brady is” and “Other players should follow suit” was the cry of many. It was even the most opportune time for Rich Cimini to show his Twitter followers just how big of discount Brady just gave the Patriots by comparing to Brady’s new contract extension with the contract extension Mark Sanchez signed a year ago.

But what King and Cimini won’t emphasize is that Tom Brady’s extension is unlike most NFL contracts. In fact, it’s unlike 99% of NFL extensions because it allows Brady to play the next 3 seasons why receiving fully guaranteed salaries. Here’s how King characterized Brady’s guaranteed contract.

The extension will pay Brady a $3 million signing bonus immediately, in addition to salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017.

After the Patriots move money around to lessen the blow of Brady’s money in a flat-cap era here will be Brady’s cap numbers over the next five seasons, according to a source with knowledge of the contract:

2013: $13.8 million
2014: $14.8 million
2015: $13 million
2016: $14 million
2017: $15 million

The Patriots can do this by guaranteeing his salaries for the next three and giving him much of the money in a chunk of a bonus right now. That, the source with knowledge of the contract said, is what the Patriots intend to do. And history points to Brady doing the same thing eight offseasons ago.

Now just to compare, let’s revisit Cimini’s report on the Sanchez extension last year.

The deal includes $20.5 million in guarantees for 2012 and 2013 and $40.5 million in “new” money, bringing his total over five years to $58.25 million, according to sources. He can make an additional $10 million in escalators.

So yes, Sanchez’ deal was bigger than Brady’s deal overall, but most would prefer $40 million guaranteed of three over $20 million over two any day.

But there’s another aspect of Brady’s deal that King won’t emphasize. There’s also the market setting aspect of this deal. Because of this deal the Patriots can now turn to Wes Welker and potential free agents and say, “Look, Tom took less money, you should too.” And what about the upcoming negotiations of other quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, and most importantly Joe Flacco?

Brady has already made his money so giving his franchise a discount doesn’t matter much. But Ryan, Romo, and Flacco are looking for their payday. A payday that may not be as big because Tom Brady has lowered the market value for the quarterback position. Think that’s being too extreme? Well there’s already a report stating that Brady’s deal has already made it cheaper for the Ravens to apply the exclusive franchise tag on Flacco.

Of course this all hurts Flacco the most. After making the case that he’s an elite quarterback, he finally proved it on the field. So he’s ready to cash in. But what stops Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti from asking Flacco with a straight face, “how does Tom Brady money sound?”. All because Brady “took less money”.

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