New contract puts Tom Brady on track for free agency in 2020

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The most significant piece of information regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘s new contract was completely omitted from the flurry of reports that emerged regarding the deal on Sunday.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL reports that the new Brady contract contains a clause that voids the agreement on the final day of the 2019 league year, and that prevents the Patriots from using the franchise tag or the transition tag on Brady in 2020. Thus, barring a new deal before the start of the 2020 league year in March, Brady will become a free agent.

That said, the Patriots and Brady could still choose to work out a new contract before Brady hits free agency. A source with knowledge of the contract tells PFT that the deal falls beyond the category of contracts that cannot be renegotiated for at least one full calendar year. Thus, a new contract can be executed before the current one expires.

Now that the truth has emerged, the quid pro quo for the contract is simple: Brady got an $8 million raise for 2019, the Patriots created $5.5 million in cap space for 2019, and Brady will escape potential application of the franchise tag or transition tag in 2020.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Patriots would have applied the franchise tag or the transition tag to Brady. When receiver Randy Moss became a free agent in 2008, after perhaps the greatest single season for any receiver in league history, the Patriots didn’t apply either tag before eventually re-signing him to a three-year, $27 million contract.

Regardless, to the extent that Sunday’s incomplete (erroneous) reports created the impression that the Patriots have dibs on Brady for 2020 (if willing to pay him $30 million next year), the true and accurate state of affairs is that the clock now ticks toward Brady hitting free agency for the first time in his career. Which means that every owner without a clear franchise quarterback and with the urgency to generate offseason excitement — and revenue — should consider making it known, discreetly, than an obscene amount of money awaits the greatest quarterback in league history.

Brady would sell tickets. Brady would sell luxury suites. Brady, who continues to move merchandise like no one else in the league, would sell tens of thousands of jerseys.

Of course, Brady would first have to want to change teams. If he does, he has a clear path to a new address. To become a free agent in March, he needs to do nothing at all.

40 responses to “New contract puts Tom Brady on track for free agency in 2020

  1. Again I ask, why would Brady start doing something he hasn’t ever done in 20 years with the Patriots? Just face it, no matter how many theories or ideas you come up for a possible future for Brady, the only probable future is that he either retires or plays for the Patriots with a team friendly contract.

  2. Brady has never chased dollars. He’s chased winning and he’s chased legacy. What makes you think he’s going to change that now?

  3. In the absence of a presumed heir apparent to Brady, both sides better figure this out asap. As of today, the Pats are seriously lacking in QB depth.

  4. Just a way to spread the cap hit out, free money up this year for others. He will be year to year going forward. Given his age it makes perfect sense for both sides.

  5. Brady and Kraft have to have some back-door deal where Brady will get fractional ownership of the Patriots when he retires. They is almost NO way he keeps signing cap friendly teams without any immediate $$ incentive.Later on down the road Kraft will compensate him for the lost revenue. It’s just another way the Patriots skirt the rules and the system.

  6. that team is built to win for the next 2-3 years. Brady isn’t leaving as long as the team is built to win. he has only made it EASIER for the patriots to stay a championship contender for the next 2-3 years because of his salary. if anything, this new contract is all about helping the patriots.

    i know you would love a tom brady free agency, but it’s not happening. so stop with this meaningless speculation.

  7. All they gave up was the right to tag Brady at a cost of $33 million plus which they weren’t going to do anyway. He was a UFA next year anyway.

    If Tom wants to finish his career somewhere else he should be allowed that chance. I doubt it.

  8. Brady is not going anywhere. This is all nonsense. Do you realize the villain Kraft would become if he let Brady go to a different team? He wouldn’t be able to get within 300 miles of Boston. He’d probably have to sell the team and I’m not joking. Another off-season non-story. If Brady ever plays for a team other than the Pats I’ll walk around naked for an entire year. NOT HAPPENING!!

  9. I am glad they have a friendly relationship. I, for one, am not worried about Brady playing elsewhere. I think he will be in NE or retired. I am not sure I fully agree with the talk that his deals are super team friendly. They may be below market by a bit, but he is not playing on the cheap.

  10. I can tell you why his contract contains that clause with just three letters: C B A.

    The NFL & NFLPA need to hash out a new labor agreement, one that is expected to increase the amount of revenue available to the players, so Brady is making sure that he can get in on the first year of those new money deals (because let’s face it, he ain’t got that many years left). This doesn’t mean he’s gonna rake Kraft over the coals for every dollar he can get, but he will want the same team-friendly percentage of the salary cap that he is getting now, which will presumably amount to significantly more money under the new labor deal than it would if it were negotiated today.

  11. Brady and the Pats probably stuck the language in there just to mess with all the football pundits who feed on rampant speculation with no facts. That anyone would get worked up over the coziest owner/player relationship in the NFL is hysterical.

  12. It’s just a clause, and anyway at his age it has to be year-to-year whatever the contracts say. But it’s also good for the team because if he wins another ring this year and decides to walk away still healthy, the Pats keep such high dibs on him for 2020 no other team is likely to call him. And if he does want to play another year they void with no hangover and redo the contract. Like I said, it will be year-to-year regardless of what the headlines say. But it IS at least an indication that both sides think at this moment in time that he could/would theoretically play at least another year or two after this, which is noteworthy.

  13. Can someone explain how do they give him a raise for a year and lower the salary cap hit if the contract expires at the end of the year? I understand bonuses get prorated through the life of the contract, but this contract ends….

  14. Void years in contracts isn’t uncommon as some said. Phil, AZ, CAR, Det and NO has used it. Drew Brees, Ronald Darby, Malik Jackson, Brandon Graham, DeSean Jackson, Terrell Suggs, Matt Paradis, and Jesse James are some of the players involved. One was a 5 year contract that in reality is a 1 year contract because years 2020 thru 2023 are void.

  15. So much noise! Brady can retire after this year without ever having to repay his previous signing or restructuring bonuses; Both sides can WAIVE the clause and pay Brady more than the Franchise Tender amount (applying the Franchise Tag might make the Patriots the bad guy) in 2020. They’ve found another loophole in the CBA – but that’s what the Patriots do -they’re the smartest guys in the room (to quote an Enron exec)! If the Patriots and Brady think he can play another year they will simply waive the clause (not amend or change the contract). The extension benefits both parties and assures Brady that he will never need to repay previous bonuses. If he retires and Stidham takes over the amount of the cap dedicated to the QB will be far less than it would have been with Brady. The Patriots continue to use the system to their own goals.

  16. I simply dont understand why after 6 Rings, a HOF first ballot career, arguably the best player to ever play the game and at age 42, he cant call it good and ride off in the sunset like Elway and Manning did. What more does he have left to prove? If he keeps on playing, this might end badly for him.

  17. Anyone who has ever been to Gillette stadium or even Foxboro for that matter knows that Tom Brady is the face of the whole city with murals plastered all over it. He not going anywhere. He can’t! It would be a bad look for the city.

  18. Sounds small, but given Tom Brady and the Patriots knack for the details I would say it’s so in the event of another Superbowl win he can retire and say he finished his career in the last year of his contract. Most wouldn’t care but years later it would be just that extra that he’s remembered for. Like Jerome Bettis winning his SB in his home city. Things like that stick in peoples minds.

  19. I simply dont understand why ……. he cant call it good and ride off in the sunset like Elway and Manning did.
    they were washed up, he’s not. elway and manning probably had more talent but then so did a bunch of others; none of them were ever near as great because they lacked brady’s will and guts. that’s what made him the GOAT and that’s why he’s just different.

  20. He keeps playing because he absolutely loves the game, is extremely competitive & is stoic able to play at a high level….it’s something he can only do so long & once he gives it up he won’t be able to play anymore & he’s not ready to go there yet!!!

  21. Watch him have a bad year, Pat’s will move on and he’ll go somewhere else to try to prove he’s still got it. It’s the Mahomes era now.

  22. Their is No quit in brady he lives for the game his favorite ring is the next one !

  23. mlhigh says:
    August 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I simply dont understand why after 6 Rings, a HOF first ballot career, arguably the best player to ever play the game and at age 42, he cant call it good and ride off in the sunset like Elway and Manning did…

    Because unlike Manning and Elway at the end of their careers, Tom Brady can still play at an elite level. And, for better or worse, the makeup of over 90% of these elite players is if they can play, they keep playing until someone else tells them it is over. Players like Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, and maybe even Rob Gronkowski, elite guys that can still play at a high level but walk away, are very much the exception.

    To be fair, Elway actually had not fallen off a cliff like Manning did at the end of his career, and maybe with the help of the Broncos serial cheating on the salary cap they could have gotten another good season out of him.

    But Manning, even buoyed by his PEDs cheating and carried by the excellent PEDs supercharged Broncos defense in their Super Bowl year, was clearly done.

  24. mlhigh says:
    August 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I simply dont understand why after 6 Rings, a HOF first ballot career, arguably the best player to ever play the game and at age 42, he cant call it good and ride off in the sunset like Elway and Manning did.
    Brady isn’t Manning, or Elway.

  25. tbisgod says:
    August 5, 2019 at 8:07 pm
    His own dad predicted “It will end badly with the Patriots.” I didn’t say it, but his old man did.
    When? I have always heard the opposite. And also most parents do know better than to disparage their kid’s employer in the national press.

  26. They couldn’t sign him to an “extension” because they signed him to one last year and you are only allowed to do it once a year and that date hadn’t passed. They basically just restructured his contract. Just another way to get the hopes up for the haters.

  27. It makes him the 6th highest paid QB. Coincidence.. Don’t think so. I like how the guy on Pat’s Pulpit said it… The number 6 matches the number of rings and the round Brady was drafted.Patriots trolling these haters.

  28. Of course. It’s all clear now. On March 17, 2020, at 4:01 p.m., one minute after the 2019 season ends, the owner of the Lions will call Brady and offer him $50 million for one season. Brady accepts because he doesn’t want Matt Patricia to reveal the “secret ingredients” in Brady’s diet. Brady in a Lion’s uniform …. sure. It’s fun, I suppose, to talk about what’s possible. But Brady playing anywhere else has the same likelihood of me spending a couple of weeks in Bora Bora with Sofia Vergara. It’s possible, but oh so unlikely. Damn.

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