The last time quarterback Tom Brady executed a new contract with the Patriots, he instantly became St. Thomas of San Mateo by virtue of his decision to give the team a huge bargain. Sure, that bargain came with a $30 million signing bonus, but it was nevertheless far less of a deal than he otherwise could have sought.
So with another extension putting Brady in New England beyond his 42nd birthday, the devil will be in the details of St. Thomas’s new deal.
Surely, the back end won’t be bloated with big money. It’s been believed that Brady wants his cap numbers to be very manageable as his age becomes unwieldy, in order to ensure that coach Bill Belichick will never feel compelled to cut Brady in a cap move. With former second-round backup Jimmy Garropolo two seasons into a four-year rookie deal, Brady’s extension suggests that he’ll survive yet another ultimately wasted pick, who’ll possibly be eventually traded to another team at a loss.
Of course, that all depends on the numbers of the new Brady deal. How much of the contract through 2019 is fully guaranteed? What will the cap hit be if Brady is cut in 2017? Will the Pats persuade Garropolo to remain in place until Brady finally retires, ensuring a possible Joe Montana/Steve Young passing of the torch?
That’s why the details are so important. And with agent Don Yee (who presumably leaked the news of the extension to ESPN because the Patriots never say anything to anyone) not leaking the numbers, it’s safe to say the numbers likely won’t become the centerpiece of Yee’s future recruitment efforts.
The numbers also will be interesting as it relates to the possible 2016 suspension of Tom Brady for #Deflategate. Ultimately, he’ll lose four game checks if he’s suspended; the smaller the base salary in 2016, the less money he’ll lose.
Last year, he would have lost 4/17ths of $8 million (i.e., $1.88 million). Under Brady’s pre-extension salary of $9 million for 2016, it would have been $2.11 million. If the new contract drops Brady’s base salary to $985,000, the veteran minimum for a player with his experience, Brady would lose only $231,000 through a suspension.