By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Tom Brady's contract could be an issue now. But it's not necessarily the main issue for the Patriots quarterback.
In the wake of a report on Wednesday that Brady hasn't committed to playing for the Patriots in 2018, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo provided an update on what could be driving Brady's lack of an official decision. According to them, he does want a "revised" contract - but it's not the driving force behind his absence at the start of Patriots voluntary offseason workouts or any other new reports.
Like ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rapoport agrees that Brady is still strongly expected to play in 2018. The Patriots are reportedly “going forward with the very strict and stern belief” that Brady will be back. Additionally, Garafolo believes Brady's contract is a "factor" in his relationship with the team this offseason, but not the "No. 1 thing."
Garafolo described Brady's contract as a "secondary issue" via Twitter on Wednesday, and added that the contract is "not driving his absence from offseason workouts or anything."
Brady is due a base salary of $14 million in 2018 and 2019, plus another $1 million each season in per-game roster bonuses. His $15 million in cash earnings in 2018 is tied for the 20th-highest total in the NFL, along with four other players: Chargers QB Philip Rivers, Panthers QB Cam Newton, Jaguars DE Calais Campbell, and Chiefs LB Justin Houston.
However, Brady's cap number in 2018-19 sits at $22 million due to his prorated signing bonus. His last two extensions with the Patriots were done with two years remaining on his deal, tacking on another two years.
As noted by Miguel Benzan of the Boston Sports Journal, a.k.a. @PatsCap on Twitter, it wouldn't be unprecedented if Brady signed an extension just before the start of the regular season. However, the last time that happened was in 2010. He's extended or reworked his contract four times since then.
Robert Kraft recently went on the record with Jeff Howe of The Athletic to say that there's no problem on either side with Brady's contract, but the two sides will work something out "if it becomes an issue." Perhaps it is an issue now, but there's still reason to be confident that they can get something done. And it would be far from the first time that they agree to something just before the season.
But this likely remains, as Garafolo put it, a secondary thing for Brady. There's still plenty of offseason activity to take place for the Patriots before the start of the 2018 season. It remains to be seen what he'll do over the next few months, much less whether he'll get an extension beyond the next two years.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].
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