We know the who (Tom Brady), the what (a team-friendly contract extension), the where (right here, in this town!), the when (agreed to Monday; runs through 2017) and the how (just by signing some papers).
What hangs out there is the “why?”
Is Brady really that benevolent as to take Ryan Fitzpatrick/Matt Cassel-type money for the final three years of his Patriots career? Or is there a catch? There’s gotta be a catch, right?
My friend and corporate cohort, Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, is adamant that – when the full contract becomes available for public consumption - there’s no way Brady gave back money he was already contracted to be paid in league years 2013 and 2014.
That money – a $9.75 million salary and roster bonuses of $6.8 million to be paid on February 15 of 2014 and 2015 – is still coming to Brady. And Brady picked up an additional $3 million signing bonus on the new three-year deal that he will apparently get now.
By extending his deal, Brady allows money he had coming to him in salary to be converted into bonus money which can be spread over the life of his contract. So that nearly $10 million in 2013 salary that has to hit the cap because it is listed as salary? Brady, in theory, could have agreed to turn the salary into bonus money – which can be prorated for cap purposes over the life of the contract - taken the veteran minimum in 2013 and still gotten the same money into the Brady checking account this year.
So Brady isn’t taking a “pay cut.” Anyone telling you that is getting it wrong. The savings to the team on paper against the salary cap comes now. The savings to the team in the bank vault comes later.
Brady has agreed to being paid far less money in 2015-17 than he could command. At $8 million per year (subtracting the $3 million signing bonus he’s getting for the new deal to bring the salary value down to $24 million from 2015-17), Brady’s making less than half of what Peyton Manning made last year coming off four neck surgeries.
Brady’s working practically working pro bono compared to what elite starting quarterbacks will be paid in 2015.
Florio thinks a raise is likely before the 2015 season. And it may be. But unless that raise is for about $40 million and turns his three-year, $27 million into a three-year, $67 million extension, Brady will still be taking less than he could possibly command.
The point is, Brady really is giving money back. And, for people who think something’s afoot, that there’s an ulterior financial motive, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes have a song for them folks.
Brady’s not going to be living in an appliance box beneath an overpass. Those guys running around at the Combine in the goofy, colorful Under Armour gear? Those colors are part of Under Armour’s effort to invade the women’s athletic apparel marketplace and add to its strengthening hold on men’s high performance workout gear.
Brady is a major shareholder in Under Armour. Brady also has aligned himself nicely with UGGs.
On the football side of things, here’s how it’s broken down. Brady signed a three-year, $864,000 deal in 2000. Before that was up, he signed a five-year, $30 million deal in August 2002 that would have taken him through 2007. In May 2005, he agreed to a six-year, $60 million deal that would have taken him through the 2010 season. On the eve of the 2010 season, Brady signed the four-year, $72 million deal that would have taken him through 2014. And now he’s added the final $27 million on. He’s made a lot of money with football. His wife has made a lot of money with modeling.
There’s been plenty of speculation that, because Brady has taken less than he could command, the presumption is his teammates will now feel beholden to.
Maybe the Patriots front office will insinuate that, but I’m not sure Brady would. He’s well aware his financial security when football ends is in a different galaxy than his teammates. Think he’d begrudge Welker – who’s made $27 million since 2007; the same amount Brady just re-signed for – making every last penny from the Patriots? Seriously?
Think he shook his head at the paydays realized by Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski? Not at all.
Brady wants championships. And he wants the team to be able to retain or seek all the talent it can to help him accomplish that. It’s really that simple.