Tom Brady had already told the world he wasn’t going to be one-and-done with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However now it turns out he might be sticking around longer than we thought.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion agreed to a four-year extension Friday, though the amended deal will void following the 2022 season – effectively tacking an extra season onto the two-year, $50 million pact Brady took last year after jumping from the New England Patriots amid his first dalliance with free agency.
As expected, Brady’s extension provided significant salary cap relief for the Bucs rather than breaking the bank.
A person with knowledge of the contract, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told USA TODAY Sports that the Bucs will save $19 million under the NFL’s $182.5 million salary cap for 2021. Brady would have counted more than $28 million against the cap with his previous deal, yet now will cost just roughly $9 million against the cap.
The four-year extension includes three voidable years after the 2022 season, with Brady’s salary next year “similar” to his 2021 payout of $25 million, the person said, although the money likely would break down to contain a lower base salary supplemented by a roster bonus. The exact amount of a signing bonus (significant and prorated against the cap for four years) is unclear.
What is certain, however, is that the added years will allow the Bucs the flexibility to keep several key players from their Super Bowl championship squad. In addition to confirming Brady’s extension, the team on Friday announced an extension for linebacker Lavonte David, which follows the franchise tag placed on star receiver Chris Godwin earlier this week.
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The Bucs are hoping that the extra room created with Brady’s deal will allow them to strike new deals with linebacker Shaquil Barrett and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, in addition to retaining two players with close ties to Brady — tight end Rob Gronkowski and wideout Antonio Brown.
Tampa Bay began the day projected about $5.5 million over the league’s $182.5 million salary cap for 2021, per Over The Cap. They must be in compliance with that figure by the time the new league year (and free agency) begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.
TB12, a five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time league MVP, will be 44 by Week 1. Brady has long proclaimed a desire to play until he’s at least 45 and would have to do so to break Steve DeBerg’s record as the oldest quarterback to start a game (he was 44 years and 279 days on Oct. 25, 1998, when he started his final NFL game for the Falcons).
Hall of Famer George Blanda, a quarterback for much of his career, played until he was 48 but was almost exclusively a kicker after he turned 45.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.