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Big gain

Brady signs four-year deal with Patriots

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / September 10, 2010

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What began as a rough day for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ended on a very high note.

A league source confirmed last night that the paperwork for a four-year contract extension that will keep the face of the franchise in New England through 2014 is signed and will be submitted to the NFL this morning.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was first with the news, reporting during halftime of the Saints-Vikings game that Patriots owner Robert Kraft told him the deal was done. The deal is worth $72 million, with $48.5 million guaranteed.

That average annual value of $18 million makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history in terms of average salary, though that could be short-lived once Peyton Manning signs his new deal with Indianapolis. Colts president Jim Irsay is on record as saying it is the team’s intention to make the four-time league MVP the highest-paid player.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning was the highest paid, at $16.25 million per year.

It was quite the reversal for Brady: Yesterday morning, shortly after leaving his Beacon Street residence for Gillette Stadium, he was involved in a two-car accident. While Brady appeared to be fine — he reported to the facility midmorning and practiced with his teammates in the afternoon, participating fully — witnesses at the scene said the 33-year-old looked shaken up, which is to be expected.

But the crash may have had a role in the contract getting finalized. When speaking with the media in the Patriots’ locker room Wednesday, as he did his best to dodge contract questions, Brady said he has learned not to take anything for granted.

“I don’t assume anything anymore in life,’’ he said. “I don’t think anything is guaranteed to us beyond what we have today, and I really feel that way.

“That’s the approach I’ve taken over the years, because you never really know when your last day will be. I really try to just take it one day at a time. I know it’s a cliché and all that, but it’s the truth.

“I think it’s a great message for all of us. No matter what your job, you’re living and enjoying today and that’s what’s most important to me.’’

Reports began earlier this week that Brady and the Patriots were getting close to completing a deal, though the initial news stories had it as a three-year pact. By Wednesday, it seemed very likely that something would be done before New England kicked off the season Sunday against the Bengals.

Brady wanted to have a deal in place before the Cincinnati game for peace of mind, particularly given what happened to him in the 2008 season opener, when he tore his ACL just minutes into the game. To his credit, Brady never did anything to publicly protest his lack of an extension, showing up to training camp on time, taking part in every camp practice, and playing in all four preseason games.

In 2005, Brady signed a six-year, $60 million extension that has since been viewed as a very team-friendly deal, considering what Brady had accomplished at the time he signed it. However, he took less money under the premise that New England would use the money it didn’t spend on him on a strong supporting cast. The next year the team balked when Brady favorite Deion Branch asked for a new deal and the receiver was traded to Seattle, a move that did not go over well with Patriots players.

Now that he will be here for the next four years, one has to wonder if Brady will push for New England to sign receiver Randy Moss, who seems to be showing no signs of slowing down though he is also 33 years old. Moss is in the final year of the three-year contract he signed with the Patriots after his record-setting 2007 season, and on Monday told CBSSports.com that he feels “unwanted’’ by the club because he has not received a contract offer.

“I want him,’’ Brady said. “He knows that. I tell him every day.’’

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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