Tom Brady has taken one for the team. Sort of. Kind of.
By taking ridiculously “less money” in the three new years that have been tacked onto the end of his existing contract, Brady has created the impression that, for the balance of his career in New England, his goal will be to win football games, not make money. And the fact that Brady took less later undoubtedly will be used to club other players over the head in order get them to take less now. (Wes Welker, are you listening?)
But here’s the thing. How much less is Brady actually getting over the next two years? Previously due to carry a cap number of $20.88 million in 2013, did the Pats slash $15 million million from Brady’s cap number over the next two years by giving him less money — or by giving him a big chunk of what he was due to earn as a guaranteed payment and dropping his base salary down to the veteran minimum of $945,000?
That’s the unanswered question, but also the most important one. How much less money did Brady get in comparison to what he was due to earn this year? How much less will he get in comparison to what he was due to earn in 2014?
The salary numbers for 2015, 2016, and 2017 are so low that they’re laughable. Surely, if Brady still wants to play for the Patriots and if the Patriots still want Brady to play for them, he’ll get much more than $24 million in base salary over three full seasons. And if, in two years, the Patriots opt to shrug their shoulders and tell Brady he’s under contract for a base salary of $7 million, he can simply retire.
For now, the fact that Brady is taking “less money” in the future will help the Patriots persuade guys to take “less money” now, even if Brady ultimately never takes a penny less than what he’s really worth.
That’s why the details as initially reported are scant. Eventually, we’ll be able to pick through the entire contract and get to the truth as to whether Brady will actually be taking any “less money” over the last two years of his existing contract.