Talked with a source who has taken a look at Tom Brady's contract, and he unearthed one significant nugget that, I think, hasn't been out there: The final three years of the deal ($24 million total) become fully guaranteed for injury and skill if he's on the roster for the final game of the 2014 season. Right now, they're only guaranteed for injury.
This nugget takes a little of the bloom -- but certainly not all of it -- off the notion that Brady gave up leverage on the back end to help the team out tremendously now. Brady certainly left money on the table, but it's not as much now.
There is zero chance, unless he retires after this season, that Brady won't be on the roster for the final game of the 2014 season (he would leave $32.8 million of dead money). So that means, with the $30 million signing bonus of old money and $3 million of new money, Brady is getting $57 million guaranteed.
Initial reports of the guarantee just being for injury made it appear that Brady didn't protect himself as much as he could have on the back end. He did. That's nearly what Drew Brees ($60 million) and Peyton Manning ($58 million) had in guarantees.
So while the Patriots gained a lot with the extension, Brady gained a lot as well. Maybe not as much as he could have, but pretty close.
2013: $13.8 million
2014: $14.8 million
2015: $13 million
2016: $14 million
2017: $15 million