Heard a contract extension for Tom Brady was likely at some point at the NFL Scouting Combine, but I'm amazed it came together this quick.
Now we know why it did: it looks like (pending the real numbers) that Brady took cut-rate value to help benefit the team as a whole. There was no waiting to see where Joe Flacco or Aaron Rodgers would come in over $20 million per year.
Brady went right underneath everybody and basically agreed to a fully-guaranteed five-year, $60 million contract, sources confirmed, that will take him to 40 years old.
What will it mean? We'll have more in Tuesday's Globe, but a few quick thoughts:
- Wes Welker should be the next to get an extension and it could be done by the start of free agency. Wouldn't be surprised if Brady made this a handshake part of his deal;
- The Patriots like cornerback Aqib Talib and want him back, but it would be a surprise to see a multi-year deal done before free agency;
- At this point, it looks unlikely that the Patriots will use the franchise tag, league sources said, but that could change once the organization regroups following the combine. The stretched out league schedule has changed the rhythm of decisions;
- The Patriots could very well use the transition tag -- right of refusal and no compensation, as opposed to two first-round picks with the franchise tag -- on Talib and save about $1.7 million. NFL teams in Indianapolis are talking more about this possibility, and the Patriots could be involved;
- It's now a matter of when, not if, backup quarterback Ryan Mallett will be traded. With little good tape on him, it's going to be tough for the Patriots to get what they want, which, considering he's a third-round pick with two years development invested, would at least be a second-round pick if not a first-rounder. Hard to see a team giving that up at this point. But with a weak quarterback draft class, this is the perfect time;
- The Patriots are expected to be active on the free-agent market at cornerback, receiver and defensive end. Brady's deal gives them a lot more room.