The Patriots have the biggest advantage in the NFL by having Tom Brady on their roster.
Not only is Brady having one of his best seasons at 38, with a plan to keep playing for ten more years, Brady’s contract is perhaps the best steal of any quarterback in the NFL.
Toward the end of last season, Brady took a $US3 million gamble on himself by restructuring his contract.
He gave up $US27 million in guaranteed money for a $US3 million raise over three seasons, and in turn, lessened a financial guarantee for the Patriots so they can spend that money elsewhere.
The degree to which Brady’s contract is a steal becomes more eye-opening when taking into account where he ranks in quarterback cap hits. Brady has an $US8 million salary this season with a $US6 million signing bonus, giving him a total cap hit of $US14 million. That is only the 14th biggest cap hit among quarterbacks in the NFL, according to Spotrac! Players like Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, and Alex Smith all have bigger cap hits than Brady this season.
And with Brady’s salary only incrementally increasing each season — $US8 million in 2015, $US9 million in 2016, $US10 million in 2017 — the Patriots have arguably the biggest advantage in the league: they have money to spend on other positions to build around Brady.
That advantage didn’t necessarily bear itself out in a big this past offseason when the Patriots lost cornerback Darrelle Revis to a five-year, $US70 million to the Jets. However, it has paid off in other ways, like with the Patriots recent two-year, $US5 million extensions for guard Josh Kline and running back Dion Lewis. Neither of these are huge, splashy signings, but it allows the Patriots to fortify Brady’s supporting cast.
This could become important in the next two years if Brady starts to decline (though that seems far off, as Brady is posting one of his best seasons in years). If that day comes, however, not only are the Patriots off the hook from owing him as much money (unless he gets injured), they can continue to build around Brady to strengthen other parts of the team.
Basically, barring a big injury to Brady, expect to be talking about the Patriots Super Bowl chances again for at least the next two seasons.
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