TAMPA ― Tom Brady always has been willing to restructure his contract if it means helping to build the best team around him.
He did it five times with the Patriots. On Friday, Brady signed a four-year contract with the Bucs that voids to a one-year extension and keeps the seven-time Super Bowl champion in Tampa Bay through the 2022 season.
According to multiple reports, Brady essentially agreed to be paid $50 million over the next two years. But the quarterback is due $41.075 million in 2021, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media. The remaining $8.925 million will be paid in 2022.
While Brady gets more cash in his pocket this year, the 2021 signing bonus will be spread over the next four years, including three that become voidable. With this structure, the Bucs were able to lower Brady’s salary-cap number for 2021 to $9.075 million, or a $19.3 million savings.
However, it’s a pretty nuanced deal in that $15 million of the $41.075 million will be paid in 2022.
It breaks down this way, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated: Brady gets $20 million to sign with $15 million deferred to 2022. A $20 million roster bonus is due this month, lowering his 2021 base salary to $1.075 million. His base salary in 2022 increases to $8.925 million in 2022.
There are $9 million in performance incentives. He will earn $500,000 for reaching the playoffs; $750,000 for a win in the wild-card game and 75-percent play time or earning a bye week; $1.25 million for a divisional playoff win and 75-percent playtime in 2021; $1.75 million for reaching the Super Bowl and $2.25 million for winning the Super Bowl.
There are plenty of performance incentives in the package, roughly $562,500 each for things like finishing in the top five for passer rating, touchdown passes, passing yards, completion percentage and yards per attempt.
It’s interesting Brady’s salary didn’t really increase for 2022. It seems likely he will play until he is 45. It’s possible he will do the same type of restructuring a year from now.
All this restructuring should help the Bucs create enough room under the salary cap to re-sign players such as outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, tight end Rob Gronkowski, kicker Ryan Succop, wide receiver Antonio Brown and/or running back Leonard Fournette. There’s likely to be some more contracts reworked between now and the start of the new league year on March 17.
The Bucs are definitely pushing some dead salary-cap money to future years, something they rarely do. But then, when you’ve got the GOAT, the window to rack up Lombardi Trophies is now.