Tom Brady Is Making A $3 Million Bet On Himself With His New Patriots Contract

Like he has done several times before, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract on Monday.

It’s complicated, but here are the main points as reported by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald and Mike Reiss of ESPN:

  • Before the restructuring, the Patriots owed Brady $US24 million guaranteed through the 2017 season.
  • After the restructuring, the Patriots owe Brady $US27 million (he got a $US1 million raise per year) through the 2017 season, but it’s only guaranteed for injury.
  • It doesn’t give the Patriots any more cap room right now. It just means that the team doesn’t have to set aside that $US24 million in a separate account. Howe said the Patriots reworked the deal for “accounting purposes.”

  • If the Patriots cut Brady between now and 2017, he won’t get paid what he’s owed unless he’s injured. Under his old contract, he would have gotten paid no matter what.
  • If the Patriots cut a healthy Brady between now and 2017, his base salaries in 2015 ($US8 million), 2016 ($US9 million), and 2017 ($US10 million) won’t count against the cap. Under his old contract, they would have.

It’s a mutually beneficial move: Brady potentially gets $US3 million more in salary. The Patriots don’t have to put $US24 million aside, and now the penalty for cutting him is much less severe.

Because his old deal was fully guaranteed, Brady’s signing bonus (prorated at $US5 million per year through 2017) AND base salary would have counted against the salary cap if the Patriots cut him. Now that the money isn’t fully guaranteed, only the $US5 million per year in signing bonus money will count against the cap if the Patriots cut him due to performance. 

It’s easier for the Patriots to cut Brady now than it was before. But that doesn’t mean they will do it. Brady’s base salaries are still below market value, and he’s still playing like a top-five quarterback. Also, are the Patriots really going to cut the best player in franchise history to save a few million? That’s cold, even for Bill Belichick.

With this restructuring, Brady is essentially betting on himself. He gave up the security of a fully guaranteed deal, but if he maintains his level of play through 2017 he’ll get an extra $US3 million.

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