Tom Brady's $70 million extension could be short-lived and allow the Patriots to 'pull the ripcord' in 7 months

tom brady 2019

Stew Milne/AP

Tom Brady will be the sixth highest-paid quarterback this season.

  • Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came to an agreement on a two-year, $70 million contract extension.
  • Reports suggest that the two sides are likely to re-negotiate the deal next March to avoid big cap hits for Brady and to pay him according to his performance.
  • Despite their long-time partnership, contract negotiations between the Patriots and Brady have been tricky in recent years because the Patriots have been wary of committing big money to Brady, due to his age.
  • One report said the Patriots can still "pull the ripcord" this spring if they feel Brady is no longer worth big money, or if he doesn't want to re-negotiate the deal.
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The New England Patriots and Tom Brady came to an agreement on a much-anticipated contract extension this weekend to give the 42-year-old quarterback a raise for 2019.

Brady, who was in the last year of his deal, and the Patriots agreed to a two-year, $70 million extension that raises Brady's salary from $15 million to $23 million this season, the sixth-most among quarterbacks in the NFL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.Advertisement

The deal takes Brady through 2021, with reported salaries of $30 million and $32 million. However, according to many, it's unlikely that Brady will play those seasons on this current deal. Schefter reported that the deal will be adjusted each year.

As Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston explained, the extension placated both sides - Brady gets a deserved pay boost, while the Patriots have a deal in place to avoid going down the franchise-tag road. The deal also opened up $5 million in cap space for the Patriots next offseason.

However, Curran wrote that both sides are likely to be "back at the table" next March, negotiating another deal to avoid the big cap hit for 2020.

Curran also wrote that the Patriots will be "able to pull the ripcord on Brady next March if they don't think he's worth the huge salary and he refuses a renegotiation."

Contract negotiations between Brady and the Patriots have been difficult in recent years because Brady continues to defy age norms in the NFL. Curran described the negotiation process between Brady and the Patriots as involving "significant wrangling."The Patriots at one point viewed Jimmy Garoppolo as Brady's successor, but traded him in 2017, making a commitment to Brady. The Patriots took quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round of the draft this year.Advertisement

While Brady continues to play like one of the best starting quarterbacks in the league, the Patriots seem wary of committing big money long-term to a player who could suddenly show his age.

Last year, the Patriots tied $5 million in performance incentives into Brady's contract. He didn't hit any of them. Curran reported in July that the incentives "didn't really sow seeds of gratitude" for Brady.

Read more: The Patriots restructured Tom Brady's contract before the season, and it ended up costing him $5 millionAdvertisement

So while Brady is taken care of this season, the two sides still seem to be operating on a year-to-year basis. If Brady plays all 16 games this year, he'd be the first player to do so at 42 years old.

As ESPN's Mike Weiss wrote, the two sides will try to figure out a deal that helps Brady accomplish his goal of playing to 45 years old. It seems the Patriots are still cautious about committing to that plan.