Even if Tom Brady earns the $5 million in incentives that will be officially added to his contract shortly, he'll be one of the best bargains in football.
Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reported that an adjustment to Brady's deal is coming, and both ESPN and NFL Media have noted that the incentive would bring Brady's total earnings for 2018 to $20 million. (Brady's base salary is $14 million, and his roster bonus is worth $1 million.)
That $20 million, if the incentive is fully earned, wouldn't necessarily put Brady among the league's top-tier earners at his position.
If one were to approach Brady's new deal by analyzing the amount of cash quarterbacks are hauling in for 2018, $20 million is the same amount the Jaguars will pay Blake Bortles this year. That's the 10th-highest cash intake for quarterbacks.
Sam Darnold ($20.55 million) and Aaron Rodgers ($20.56 million) are a shade ahead of that $20 million number. Jimmy Garoppolo, at $42.6 million, tops the list thanks to a massive signing bonus handed to him by the Niners. Baker Mayfield, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Alex Smith will also make more than Brady in total cash in 2018, even if Brady collects his $5 million incentive.
Another angle to take? Average annual value. Quarterbacks are of course oftentimes judged by their contracts' AAV, which incorporates signing bonuses as divvied up and spread evenly across the length of the contract.
Brady's contract, not including the $5 million incentive, has an AAV of $20.5 million thanks to a two-year $41 million extension he signed before the 2016 season. If you assume Brady will make the $5 million and want to incorporate that to his AAV, that would bring him to an average of $23 million. That would be ninth in the league, slightly ahead of Rodgers ($22 million) and Joe Flacco ($22.13 million), and slightly behind Alex Smith ($23.5 million).
Matt Ryan, the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, has a contract with an average annual value of $30 million. Garoppolo's deal checks in with an AAV of $27.5 million. Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Carr, Brees and Andrew also have AAVs eclipsing $23 million.
No matter how you slice it, if Tom Brady remains healthy and plays at a level anywhere approaching his MVP 2017 season, his deal is still a steal for the Patriots.