Tom Brady renegotiated his contract with the New England Patriots earlier this week, adding three years to the deal and, more importantly, freeing up salary cap money for the team to spend on other players. At first, Brady’s new deal first appeared to be a huge bargain — it was reported as a three-year extension for just $27 million, less than half of what you’d expect a quarterback of his caliber to be paid.
Brady was immediately celebrated in the media for being the rare professional athlete who’s willing to take less money because doing so would help his team sign more players and thus be better equipped to win more championships.
That narrative turned out to be somewhat false, however. The Boston Globe notes that Brady’s renegotiated contract isn’t about him taking less money, but simply moving around the money his contract already guaranteed he would be paid in order to give the Patriots more space under the complicated NFL salary cap rules. In fact, as the Globe notes, Brady will actually earn $3 million more over the next few years.
Never one to shy away from an opportunity for good PR, however, Brady has picked up the “sacrificing salary for wins” narrative. In an email he wrote to WEEI-FM in Boston, Brady said the following:
“Athletes are always talking about money at a time when everyone else is struggling so badly to make it. We all make way more than our fair share. And I just think it reflects poorly on myself and my teammates. I really do just want to win, and that has and will continue to be the reason that motivates me and is the biggest factor in my decision-making process.”
Brady’s words are likely to win him respect among some sports fans — and what he’s saying is certainly not without merit — but it’s pretty easy to sacrifice a few million dollars when you’re already guaranteed to be paid $60 million over the next half-decade and you’re married to a woman, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who makes a reported $45 million annually (more than any other model in the world).
How Brady’s words will play among his fellow NFL players is another story. His sacrifice could serve to depress the going rate for star quarterbacks, which won’t exactly thrill guys like Joe Flacco (who’s currently seeking a new contract in the range of $20 million per year).