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Tom Brady’s contract removes lame-duck label, but not lame-duck reality, for 2019

Tom Brady spoke about how tricky it is to replace a player like Rob Gronkowski, leaving the door open for the star TE to make a return next season.

Without a contract extension, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was potentially entering his last year with the team. With a contract extension, Brady is potentially entering his last year with the team.

As Tom Curran of aptly explains, the move changes nothing about the possibility that 2019 will be Brady’s last ride in New England. It possibly will change the narrative that he’s careening toward a departure, even though it shouldn’t.

Brady received an extra $8 million this year, and the team reportedly picked up $5.5 million in cap space. Since the contract is a two-year extension (a three-year deal), the creation of $5.5 million in cap space comes from a signing bonus of $8.25 million. The balance of his $23 million will be in the form of salary and, possibly, the retention of the $1 million in per-game roster bonuses.

The details of the 2020 and 2021 compensation have yet to be leaked. The numbers, when they emerge, likely will cement the notion that the Patriots could decide to move on after 2019, especially since the cap charge would be only $5.5 million for doing so.

So Brady has gotten an extra $8 million, the team has engineered a relatively small amount of cap relief, and the Patriots have secured dibs on keeping Brady for 2020 without having to apply the franchise tag at $32.4 million or without having to potentially risk letting him hit the open market and being grossly overpaid by a team that cares far less about Brady’s specific football abilities in 2020 and far more about the millions Brady could help a franchise generate in ticket sales, jersey sales, and everything else that goes along with having the greatest quarterback of all time under contract.