Why Tom Brady would usually be signing an extension this year

Brady once again has two years remaining on his existing deal. The Patriots have extended him three times at this stage of a contract.

Tom Brady Robert Kraft
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft shakes hands with quarterback Tom Brady. –Winslow Townson / AP

When Tom Brady signed a contract extension in 2010, he became the NFL’s highest-paid player in terms of average salary. At the time, the 33-year-old Patriots quarterback had said he wanted to play until the age of 40.

The negotiations that led to the new deal had taken longer than expected, but after they concluded Brady said, “I really love being here and playing for Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan. Our relationship isn’t based on how much money he pays me.”

Their relationship — a stupendously profitable one for both parties — is making headlines again this offseason. Brady, now 40 years old with no plans to retire until “cuarenta y cinco,” has two years left on his current contract. He’s slated to make $15 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons. That number is no longer anywhere near the highest in the league, but New England’s owner had no plans to meet at the bargaining table when asked about the situation in April.

Advertisement

“He’ll be 41 when the season starts,” Kraft said. “Neither side has an issue with it. If it becomes an issue, we’ll deal with it.”

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Brady would “absolutely be interested” in revisiting his current deal. That makes sense, given the team’s history of negotiating extensions with the face of the franchise.

Here are all the contract extensions Brady has signed with the Patriots:

August 29, 2002

Number of years remaining on his previous contract: 1

Brady signed a four-year, $30 million extension to his rookie deal.

May 5, 2005

Number of years remaining on his previous contract: 2

After he won his third Super Bowl, Brady agreed to a new six-year contract worth nearly $60 million that made him one of the highest-paid players in the league.

September 10, 2010

Number of years remaining on his previous contract: 1

Brady was nearly allowed to enter the final year of his contract for the first time. However, three days before the season opener he signed a four-year, $72 million extension.

February 25, 2013

Number of years remaining on his previous contract: 2

Brady signed an extension that restructured his prior deal, freeing up cap space for the Patriots, and tacked on three additional years to the end of the contract.

March 9, 2016

Number of years remaining on his previous contract: 2

Advertisement

The quarterback signed a two-year extension that paid him $41 million of “new” money and ensured he’d be a Patriot through 2019.

***

Today, Brady once again has two years remaining on his existing deal. The Patriots have extended him three times at this stage of a contract. The two occasions they let him get to the last year of a deal were due to unusual circumstances — once because Brady was a second-year pro who needed to prove himself worthy of an long-term commitment (a Super Bowl ring sufficed) and the other when he was one year removed from a season-ending knee injury.

Perhaps, for Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, the fact that Brady turns 41 in August counts as another one of those extenuating circumstances.