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What Tom Brady’s two-year, $70 million contract extension means for the Patriots

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Related: Patriots and Tom Brady agree to two-year, $70 million contract extension

AMFOOT-NFL-SUPER-RAMS-PATRIOTS Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier today, news broke that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady have agreed on a two-year contract extension worth a total of $70 million. The deal adds two seasons to the quarterback’s current one — one that would have expired following the 2019 season — and will keep him around through 2021, at least in theory. However, the contract means more than just locking Brady up for the foreseeable future.

Let’s take a closer look.

New England creates additional cap space in 2019

Above all else, the two-year extension gives the Patriots some cap relief this season. While Brady’s cash intake in 2019 will increase by $8 million, the structure of the deal actually lowers his salary cap hit this season. As a result, the reigning world champions now have roughly $13 million available — up from the previous $7.5 million they had before the deal (all numbers according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Miguel Benzan). The contract therefore gives the team significantly more flexibility heading towards the new season.

The team can pull the plug after this season

One key element of Brady’s new deal is that the two years after 2019 can be voided by the team. This means that the two sides are taking a year-to-year approach when it comes to the 42-year-old quarterback as he enters unchartered territory. From a team-perspective, the contract itself is therefore primarily about offering salary cap relief this year, and pushes the issue of Brady’s future in New England further down the line.

Expect renegotiations next year

As a result of the contract’s structure, new negotiations between Brady’s camp and the Patriots should be expected next offseason. After all, Brady is now set to hit the Patriots’ salary cap with $30 million and $32 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Given that the two sides seem to have agreed on reevaluating on an annual basis, it would not be a surprise to see them do just that one year from now.

Brady is now under contract through his age-44 season

While the extension years are basically meaningless in the grand scheme of things, Brady is still under contract through 2021 — which means that his new contract now expires five months before his 45th birthday. Given that the six-time world champion always said that he plans on playing until 45, this is still significant: the extension itself might be the final one signed by the future Hall of Famer that actually adds years to an existing deal.