Before the Patriots can re-sign Tom Brady, the Patriots need to know the rules that apply to his contract and cap number. And with the NFL Players Association bumping its CBA vote from Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. ET to Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. ET, the Patriots and Brady won’t have much time to crunch numbers.
Come Sunday morning, the Patriots and Brady will know whether the 2020 league year will operate under the rules of the last year of the old CBA or the rules of the first year of the new one. And the Patriots and Brady will have until 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday to remove Brady from the pool of players who can officially field offers elsewhere.
Brady already counts $13.5 million against the 2020 cap, for dollars paid in prior years. It will be harder to manage his overall cap number in 2020 if the CBA fails, given the unique rules that make it harder for teams to pay big money now and to kick the salary-cap can into future years. With a new CBA, it will be easier.
Ultimately, however, a new offer will consist of specific dollars paid to Brady, in 2020 and possible beyond. The Patriots will figure out how to structure those dollars, if they’re good enough for Brady. If they’re not, they’ll simply take the $13.5 million cap charge for 2020 and move on with someone new.