After the seemingly endless legal battle and public scrutiny during the infamous "Deflategate" scandal that eventually cost Tom Brady the first four games of the 2016 NFL season, the New England Patriots quarterback returned to the team Monday.
But even after the suspension Brady’s net worth and salary were barely affected.
Thanks to the two-year, $41 million extension Brady and the Patriots agreed to in March, the four-time Super Bowl champion and former league MVP only lost $235,941.17 since his salary for the 2016 season was restructured to $1 million in the new deal, according to NESN.com.
Before the two sides reworked the deal, Brady was set to make $9 million this season. At his old salary, Brady would have lost more than $2.1 million due to the loss of four game checks.
But it’s not as if the Patriots cut Brady’s pay, they just pushed the cost down the line to make sure their superstar and future Hall of Famer didn’t lose those millions. They also freed up salary cap space for the next two years.
The newest deal called for $28 million in guarantees that the NFL cannot penalize. Brady will receive a $13 million signing bonus in 2016 and in 2017 when his salary will also be only $1 million. The deal also credited New England with $1 million in salary cap space this year and $2 million in 2017, valuable sums that could be used on free agents or current Patriots.
Come 2018 and 2019, Brady’s salary will rise to $14 million with $8 million bonuses but it won’t reflect the salaries of the NFL’s other top quarterbacks. According to Spotrac, Brady’s total cap hit (his bonuses plus salary) reaches a grand total of $13.7 million, which makes him the 28th highest-paid player in the league this year. In 2017, Brady’s total cap hit will be $14 million but he will move down to No. 43 on the highest-paid player list.
But in 2018, Brady will move all the way to No. 8 with $22 million in total compensation.
Without Brady, the Patriots dealt with an injury to backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and inserted rookie passer Jacoby Brissett in the starting lineup. They went 3-1, suffering the only loss on Sunday to AFC East rival Buffalo.
Brady is expected to lead the Patriots in their Week 5 road trip against the Cleveland Browns Sunday.
“I’m pretty motivated (all the time),” Brady told reporters Monday. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of adversities over the course of my career. I know all athletes at this point in their careers, nothing has been handed to them or given to them. You have to work hard to earn it. And you draw on those lessons you have learned over the course of a long athletic career to deal with all types of these situations.
“I haven’t had the chance to be out there for four weeks. I’ve been watching my teammates go out and try to play at their very best, and they performed very well. I’m excited to go out there and join them.”