It seems the primary reasons for Tom Brady’s two-year contract extension were to create salary-cap room in 2019 and give the quarterback a much-deserved pay raise.
Brady’s new deal opens up $5.5 million in cap space, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday. It also gives him an $8 million pay increase for a $23 million salary. That now gives the Patriots $12.99 million in cap space, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Miguel Benzan.
There’s also this: the last two years of Brady’s new deal are voidable, ESPN’s Field Yates reported Sunday. That means the Patriots can spread Brady’s new money out over three years to lower his cap hit for 2019 even if he doesn’t play in New England through 2021. It seems likely the Patriots simply will tear up this new deal next offseason to re-work a new one if the quarterback wants to continue playing. It’s unlikely they’ll pay him $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021 as his new deal dictates.
So, what can the Patriots now do with all that extra cap room? They have the freedom to make a deal if it suits them. That could be trading for Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, bringing back tight Rob Gronkowski at midseason or anything else that becomes available. And if there’s no move to be made? The Patriots simply carry that cap space over into 2020 to offset Brady’s future cap hits. NFL teams can carry cap space over from one year to the next.
Signing Brady to this contract extension and therefore opening up cap room doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a major move on the horizon. It simply gives the Patriots more freedom heading into the 2019 season. The Patriots always carry cap space into a season. They just have more than usual now.
The Patriots’ biggest needs are at offensive tackle, where projected starter Isaiah Wynn still isn’t fully practicing, and tight end, where Gronkowski’s retirement left New England with a depth chart of Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Lance Kendricks. The Patriots also could look to upgrade at wide receiver. Undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers currently is running with the Patriots’ starting offense.
What this extension really means is nothing is cleared up beyond this season in regards to Brady’s contract. Speculation over Brady’s future will continue after the 2019 season because of the voids included in his latest deal.
Let’s all reconvene here next summer, OK?