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Patriots finally give former sixth round pick Tom Brady a pay raise

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Thank goodness.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are tweaking the contract of former sixth round pick and University of Michigan graduate Thomas Patrick Edward Brady Jr. to give him a pay raise. It’s always heartening to see the little guys get rewarded for their production and it’s a nice birthday present for the recently-turned 41 year old.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots are adding “up to $5 million in performance-based incentives” that are similar to what they “did last year with TE Rob Gronkowski.” Last year, the Patriots gave Gronkowski the opportunity to make an extra $5.5 million if he hit a variety of incentives, including a set number of receiving yards, touchdowns, or an All Pro distinction.

Brady can now make up to $20 million in 2018, with a $14 million base salary, a $1 million roster bonus, and the new $5 million in incentives. That $20 million ties him with cornerback Kyle Fuller and (squints) quarterback Blake Bortles for the 17th most in cash for the year.

And when you consider that 14 of the 16 players that rank ahead of Brady signed new contracts this offseason with big signing bonuses that inflate their cash intake for the year, then Brady’s doing pretty well for himself.

For context, the two players ahead of Brady that didn’t sign new contracts this offseason are Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Carr signed his new deal last season and his big cash intake is connected with a $15 million roster bonus that helped the Raiders spread out his payment schedule- it’s basically an extension of his signing bonus.

Rodgers ranks 15th with $19.8 million in base salary, $500,000 as a workout bonus, and $600,000 available as a game-day bonus. He, like Brady, is entering the penultimate year on his contract.

The Patriots are clearly paying Brady this extra money because Bill Belichick despises the quarterback and there is an irreversible fracture in the team’s locker room he deserves it. Brady is coming off one of the best seasons of his career where he was named league MVP and First Team All Pro.

Brady’s still a bargain that’s paid less than his peers, but now he’s getting paid a more reasonable amount.

We don’t yet know what Brady’s incentives are to earn the extra $5 million, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it followed a similar structure as Gronkowski’s from last year with multiple steps. Perhaps there’s a 3,500-yard or 25 touchdown threshold, and a 4,000-yard and 30 touchdown, or a Pro Bowl tier, and then a 4,500-yard, 35 touchdown, or an All Pro level.

We’ll report the details when available.