We're not sure what Tom Brady's contract is going to look like for 2019. We anticipate the Patriots and their 41-year-old quarterback will get together to come to some kind of agreement on an extension in order to reduce what's scheduled to be a $27 million cap hit next season.
Robert and Jonathan Kraft joined Boston Sports Tonight during Super Bowl week and tried to assuage any concerns that the team and Brady wouldn't have a new deal in place by the fall.
"Let's see what happens," Jonathan Kraft said, "when training camp starts."
Based on how Brady has handled contract negotiations previously, the assumption in many corners is that Brady will allow for an extension that will pay him below market value. Former NFL agent and CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry is firmly in that camp, telling us on The Next Pats Podcast that even though Brady has leverage, he probably won't maximize it.
"I anticipate that Tom Brady's going to give them a discount again," Corry said. "Last time he got his market value was 2010. He signed an extension which made him the highest-paid player in the league at $18 million per year. Then when he started doing renegotiations -- which weren't just cap maneuvers -- in 2013, he started undercutting the market. He's at an age where you don't expect him to reverse course. So it's not a question of will he [give them a] discount, in my opinion. It's a question of how big of [a discount] will it be?"
Corry added: "I would be shocked if Tom Brady played hardball, but he does have leverage because he has the fifth-highest cap number in the league at $27 million, and if he played it out, then they'd have to stick a franchise tag on him as long as Father Time didn't catch up to him in a major way. And if they wanted to franchise him next year, it would be $32.4 million, and it's not like the Patriots have a ton of cap room to begin with . . . They will be getting a $5 million cap credit from the incentives added to Brady's contract that he didn't earn [in 2018] because the threshold was really high . . . Still, they're not in great shape cap-wise. Anything they can get to lower the cap number, which would be through an extension, they could really use the room."
For the Patriots, Corry argued, Brady's willingness to negotiate terms that benefit both sides has undoubtedly helped the team build around him.
"It's almost the equivalent of having a quarterback on a rookie contract from the standpoint of not taking what he's supposed to get," Corry said. "It works twofold: One, they have more cap room available than they ever would've had if he'd taken the route of practically every other quarterback in the league; and two, I know for a fact that they use it against other players in negotiations. It's like, 'Tom's not taking his full market value, so if he's not doing it why should you do it?' Some buy into it. Some don't. But that's another benefit that New England gets is that they get to use that in negotiations against other players."
So what kind of deal would give the Patriots some cap relief but still be in Brady's desired neighborhood?
"If," Corry explained, "you chopped his base salary down to close to minimum and gave him a signing bonus similar to ones he's gotten in past extensions, $25-30 million, you could get probably $5, $6, $7 million in cap room for this year doing something that way."
Corry gets into greater detail on the types of extensions Brady could receive -- is a fully-guaranteed deal that would save the Patriots some money in play, is a rare salary de-escalator model worth pursuing? -- in The Next Pats Podcast, which you can listen to right here.
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