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Patriots, Tom Brady agree to three-year, $27 million extension

New England Patriots v Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 23: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots attempts a pass during the game at EverBank Field on December 23, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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Tom Brady has a new contract with the Patriots, and it’s a rare instance of a high-profile player’s contract being notable for not breaking the bank.

According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Brady has agreed to a deal that adds three years to his commitment to the Patriots, while paying him $27 million in additional money. He’s now locked up through the 2017 season, when he’ll be 40 years old.

King reports that Brady will get a $3 million signing bonus immediately and will play for base salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017.

Those salaries are nowhere near what elite quarterbacks typically get. But Brady was apparently willing to do a deal that pays him only a little more money now (and yes, for an elite NFL quarterback, that $3 million signing bonus is only “a little”) for the long-term security of knowing that he’s got a contract that effectively makes him a Patriot for life.

Most significantly for the Patriots, the deal gives them some short-term relief under the salary cap, and the structure of the deal means Brady will count significantly less against their cap in the next two years than he would have under his previous contract. That may make it more feasible for the Patriots to re-sign Brady’s longtime favorite receiver, Wes Welker.

And this deal makes it more likely that the Patriots, who have been remarkably successful at staying at or near the top in the always-fluid NFL, will continue to stay at or near the top for several more years.