When most players get a $5 million raise just before the regular season the franchise runs the risk of overpaying. That’s not the case with Tom Brady.
Fifteen million dollars is a pretty good salary for most people, but it’s well below the compensation of most franchise quarterbacks in the NFL. Perhaps surprisingly, that’s what Tom Brady was scheduled to earn for the Patriots this season. Fortunately for Brady’s bank account, the Patriots have opted to give him a healthy raise.
The team is adding incentives to Brady’s deal that will give him the chance to earn up to $20 million in 2018. That might seem like a lot of money, but it really isn’t an impressive total for an NFL quarterback.
Taking his 2018 compensation up to $20 million will barely get Brady in the top 10 at his position for this season. He still trails players like Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Derek Carr. Brady checks in at a tie for 10th on the list with Jaguars signal caller Blake Bortles.
Clearly, Brady is still underpaid. Even though he’s going to play this season at the age of 41, there’s no real expectation that his performance will significantly decline. In other words, Brady is still very likely going to be a Pro Bowl caliber player in 2018. It’s even possible he can have a season good enough to put him in the MVP conversation once again.
Even if he falls short of those lofty benchmarks, he still represents a tremendous value for the Patriots. Bill Belichick and company continue to do a masterful job of leveraging these one-year incentive packages to keep their stars happy. Remember, it’s the same tactic the Patriots used to get Rob Gronkowski into camp last season. It’s possible they’ll do it again to placate their star tight end this season as well.
At some point, the Patriots are going to have to hand out some new contracts to their best players, but the organization is smart to put it off as long as possible. Giving a 41-year-old quarterback a new long-term deal would be a giant gamble, but offering Brady the chance to earn a little extra cash based on his play in 2018 is sheer genius.