Tom Brady is hoping to avoid serving a four-game suspension for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal, but the New England Patriots quarterback took measures earlier this year to ensure that he won’t take a significant financial hit if he’s forced to sit out the start of the season. By signing a new contract this offseason, Brady has already been paid the majority of his 2016 salary.
After ending the 2015 season with two years left on his deal, Brady signed a contract extension to stay with the Patriots through 2019. Not only did the new contract include $41 million more over the life of the deal, it gave Brady a $28 million signing bonus for the upcoming season. The deal leaves just a $1 million base salary in 2016, meaning a four-game suspension would cost him around $235,000.
Prior to the extension, Brady was set to make $9 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017. Now, he has a base salary of just $1 million for consecutive seasons.
Had Brady served his suspension last season, he would have lost a lot more from his pocketbook. Because his base salary was $8 million, Brady would have missed out on $2.1 million worth of game checks for four games. By delaying his suspension for a year, Brady saves himself roughly $1.9 million.
Brady won his initial appeal a week before the Patriots were set to open the 2015 season. In April, the NFL won its appeal when the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York changed a federal judge’s decision and ruled that the league had the authority to suspend Brady. Once more facing the proposition of missing four games, Brady is fighting the ruling, looking for a second hearing by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Even if the suspension is upheld, 2016 would still be the most lucrative season of Brady’s career. He made a career high $23.5 million in 2010, and he’s made at least $14 million four times.
At the conclusion of last season, Brady earned nearly $163 million in salary, according to Spotrac. That ranked him second among active NFL players, trailing only Eli Manning, who had made close to $188 million.
A few players with suspensions of the same length for the 2016 season will lose more money than Brady might forfeit. Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will lose over $350,000 due to a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, and Jalen Collins of the Atlanta Falcons is out more than $290,000 for violating the NFL’s policy on PEDs.