On Monday, the U.S. Appeals court reinstated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his involvement in Deflategate.
Deflategate, of course, was the scandal that rocked the sports world when after the 2014 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts it was found that several of the Patriots’ footballs were under-inflated. Brady was believed to have knowledge of a plan to deflate the footballs.
Though his suspension was overturned last year, if the current ruling stands, Brady has wisely prepared for the scenario.
At the start of the new league year in March, Brady and the Patriots came to a new contract agreement. Brady made a bold move to reduce his base salary from $9 million in 2016 to $1 million. For an NFL player with 10 or more years of experience, the minimum salary is $985,000 per year. Brady nearly took the lowest yearly figure possible, while recouping much of the money with a $28 million, guaranteed signing bonus.
Suspended players lose a prorated amount of their base salary for each game missed. As Boston Globe’s Ben Volin noted at the time of Brady’s new deal, it will save him tons of money in case of a suspension.
Brady also has a $1 million base salary in 2017.
While Brady and the Patriots likely renegotiated the deal to make the Patriots more financially flexible, it seems like a premeditated move to protect Brady’s wallet in the event of a suspension.
It’s unknown if this is the final call of Deflategate or if Brady will appeal this latest ruling.
Should the suspension stick, however, Brady looks like a genius for saving himself $2 million by taking a gamble on a new contract.