Tom Brady Inks Extension With Patriots: Salary Cap Relief For New England?

Tom Brady wants to continue playing in the National Football League until he’s at least 42 years old. Brady and the New England Patriots agreed to a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2019 season, according to UPI. This news comes on the heels of the Denver Broncos reportedly moving on from Peyton Manning, with all indications pointing towards Manning’s retirement at some point this week. Manning is 39-years-old, the same age Brady will turn this coming August.

With a majority of the NFL’s recent rule changes favoring offenses around the league, Tom Brady has sensed that his football shelf life could continue well past that of an average player. Back in October, he hinted that this extension may not even be his last.

“I’d like to play a long time, yeah, a long time. There’s a lot that goes into playing well. I’ve played with a lot of great teammates. But I want to play for a long time, maybe 10 more years. I think that’s probably what my goal is… And it will take a lot to achieve that. Obviously a team has to want you, but I think that’s… you know, I love playing this sport. I love making a commitment to my teammates and my coaches, and hopefully I can do it for a long time.”

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After a season in which Tom Brady finished tied for second in MVP voting, the Patriots certainly want their quarterback to stay put. But seeing how New England has the second least amount of salary cap space available in the NFL, they want — and need — Brady at the right price. This extension, which has not been signed as of this writing, would likely relieve the Patriots of some of that burden and allow for some additional flexibility. Brady was scheduled to count a team-high $15 million against the cap next season, with scheduled salaries in the final two years of his current contract of $9 million in 2016 and $10 million the following year.

As Brady gets older, he certainly realizes he’ll need a strong supporting cast around him. This move will likely enable New England to lock up key defensive players like Malcolm Butler, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Chandler Jones, whose contracts all expire after next year. It might even help the Patriots explore adding weapons to an offense that had difficulties when Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski missed time due to injuries.

If he plays out the length of the contract extension, Tom Brady will become just the fourth player in NFL history to play at least 20 seasons with one franchise. Jackie Slater played his entire 20-year career with the Rams, Darrell Green stayed with the Washington Redskins from 1983 to 2002, and Jason Hanson spent all 21 of his NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions. Slater and Green are Hall of Famers, but Brady has been a transcendent player with a spot in Canton reserved already.

Tom Brady 2-Year Extension with Patriots
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Tom Brady has led the Patriots to six Super Bowls, winning four of them. Under his leadership, New England has strung together seven straight AFC East titles without the Dolphins, Jets, or Bills providing any serious threats of dethroning the Patriots during his tenure. With the dominating combination of Brady as quarterback and Bill Belichick as head coach, the window remains open for the Patriots to add more to their trophy case. They lost to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship, and Brady watched as Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl. You have to wonder if that motivated Brady in his quest to continue to pursue greatness.

The other minor elephant in the room now remains Jimmy Garoppolo. With Tom Brady now locked in through 2019, the Boston Herald wonders whether it might be time to trade the backup QB, especially since the Patriots do not own a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

[Photo by Charles Krupa/AP]