The start of 2020’s free agency is still eight months away, but the New England Patriots already know that they will have some work to do until then. After all, numerous key members of the team are currently playing on expiring contracts and scheduled to hit the open market next March — from defensive stalwarts like Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy to starting left guard Joe Thuney to special teams ace Matthew Slater and Brandon King.
One name tops them all, however: quarterback Tom Brady is also entering the final year of his contract and therefore listed among the 37 Patriots who are on their way to become free agents next year. Needless to say that the entire league will keep a close eye on how the situation develops. However, it will have to wait for results: according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, no extension of Brady’s current deal is “on the horizon.”
Despite the lack of reported movement, the soon-to-be 42-year-old will receive a new contract sooner rather than later. Brady, after all, has never played in a contract year and it would be a surprise if 2019 was any different considering that the six-time world champion is still among the best quarterbacks in all of football. Considering this combination of age and productivity, the structure of the new contract could be quite unique.
“Nobody has played on this level and won like Brady has as he comes up on his 42nd birthday,” Pelissero said on Inside Training Camp. He also pointed out that the Patriots do have a track record of getting deals done in late summer — one that includes the team’s quarterback: the future Hall of Famer signed a four-year, $72 million extension in early September 2010. Don’t be surprised if 2019 looked similar when it comes to timing.
Brady’s contract situation has of course changed multiple times since he signed that extension in 2010. His latest deal being a two-year, $41 million extension signed in March 2016, that runs through this year. Just don’t expect the team and its quarterback to wait that long to start working on a new deal: the two sides have cooperated for almost two decades, and won’t change now. It might take some time, but a new deal will eventually get done.