Tom Brady's early training camp has consisted of less work than normal. And as we learned Thursday, he also could be paid a lot more. Not a bad deal.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the New England Patriots have tweaked Brady's contract to where he can earn up to $5 million in performance-based incentives, with the additions to be added by this weekend.
For years, Brady has played on below-market contracts. He currently is slated to earn $15 million in salary this season, so the incentives could raise him to the $20 million plateau by year's end. Although only one QB, Minnesota's Kirk Cousins, earns a base salary of more than $20 million, there are currently 10 quarterbacks who as of now will make that much in total cash this season, per Spotrac.
Brady, who turned 41 last week, is coming off an MVP season in which he completed 385-of-581 passes for a league-high 4,577 yards, 32 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He also was named first-team All-Pro, helping lead the Patriots to a 13-3 mark and a spot in the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite that, tensions had simmered leading up to the game, and there had been speculation all was still not well among the Patriots' powers — Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft — heading into their 19th season together. Brady stayed away from voluntary offseason workouts and refused to talk about his contract, offering only boilerplate support for his relationship with his coach.
Belichick has chosen to reduce Brady's workload in camp, it appears, perhaps as a measure of preservation. Only six different quarterbacks have started a game at age 41 or older since the NFL's merger in 1970, and only one of those — Brett Favre — did so in the past 10 NFL seasons.
Brady has two years remaining on his current deal, through the 2019 season.