Tom Brady Signs a Contract Extension

Rejoice Patriots fans: Your quarterback will be here through 2017.

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Tom Brady photo by Jeffrey Beall on Flickr

Well, Patriots fans, it’s as good a time as ever to remind ourselves that we’re preposterously spoiled. On Monday afternoon, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported that quarterback Tom Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him in New England through the 2017 season. He’ll be 40 then. According to King’s source, “the deal is for an eye-poppingly conservative $27 million, which is less than half his worth by any measure.”

A few things to keep in mind:

1. It’s technically a below-market contract—as several people have pointed out, last year Mark Sanchez signed a three-year, $40 extension—but that doesn’t mean Brady’s getting fleeced. A good chunk of that money is guaranteed. In the NFL, where contracts might as well be written in dry-erase marker they’re so easy to void, that’s huge. As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin wrote: “If, by 2017, he gets injured or breaks down or becomes ineffective, he’ll still have banked superstar money for it. (What’s much more likely is that he plays the next two seasons, gets his $40 or so million guaranteed, and they tear up the extension and work out a new one based on his health and the cap situation.)”

2. The Patriots suddenly have lots of salary cap room. According to King, “his cap numbers will add up to $28.6 million in the next two years, a savings of $15 million in cap dollars.” Presumably, that means New England will add a few high-quality free agents and maybe, just maybe, sign Wes Welker.

3. Brady is one of the greatest QBs of all time. I’ve enjoyed watching him play more than any other athlete in my lifetime. But let’s not nominate him for sainthood yet. Other athletes, including LeBron James, have taken “discounts” to sign with the teams of their choice. “It’s a lot easier to give up $$,” Rich Levine wrote, “when your wife’s a damn-near billionaire.” No, I’m not comparing Brady to LeBron. But come on, this wasn’t a humanitarian mission. It was a business decision, one that I think we’re all damn happy Brady made.

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