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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s new contract sets him up to hit free agency after the 2019 season

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Related: Tom Brady speaks contract extension; acknowledges he’s entering uncharted territory

NFL: AUG 02 Patriots Training Camp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tom Brady is not worried about his contract heading into the 2019 season — the greatest quarterback of all time knows that he is entering uncharted territory, and both he and the New England Patriots are treating the situation as such. The two-year, $70 million extension that was agreed on over the weekend is further proof of that as it is essentially a reworked deal that allows the team to save some money against its salary cap this year.

In return, the contract is structured in a way that sets Brady up to hit free agency after the season: not only will the two extension years void after the last day of the 2019 league year, the contract also includes a stipulation that does not allow the Patriots to use the franchise or transition tag on the 42-year-old in 2020 (according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). What does this mean? There is a chance Brady hits free agency, at least in theory.

After all, the team and its star quarterback still have time to rework the deal and evaluate it based on his performance over the course of the 2019 season. Given his track record of defying Father Time, neither Brady nor the team should be expected to have him ever seriously explore the open market. The details shared by Rapoport today certainly add further intrigue to the situation and the passer’s long-term outlook in New England, though.