Patriots Rumors

Tom Brady Sidesteps Retirement Question

  • Asked about his previously hinted desire to play until he’s 45 years old, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady mostly deflected, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. “You know, I think you always have short-term goals and long-term goals and this year’s the one I’m focused on and obviously I want to play for a long time so I’ve said that for a while,” Brady said. “Feel like I’m a broken record. You know, it’s really this year is the focus and this team. This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully I can go out and be that.”

Opinion: Decker Won't Make Patriots' Roster

Jason McCourty Could Be Cut

  • The Patriots may have traded for cornerback Jason McCourty back in March, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to make the team. McCourty is on the “roster bubble” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who writes that New England currently has a logjam at corner. Reiss thinks McCourty’s lack of special teams contributions could cost him the opportunity to suit up on the same team as his twin brother Devin McCourty, a safety for the Patriots.

Trent Brown Favorite To Start At LT; More On Tom Brady's Contract

  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.

More Details On Brady's Revised Contract

  • ESPN’s Field Yates has even more details on Tom Brady‘s revised contract (Twitter links). The Patriots quarterback had $10MM of his $14MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, which means he’ll get that chunk of cash now instead of spread out over 17 weeks. His 2018 cap number will not increase (allowing the Patriots to maintain cap flexibility), but his 2019 cap hit has increased from $5MM to $27MM. If Brady decided to keep playing in 2019, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says the team would presumably sign their franchise quarterback to a new deal, thus pushing some of that money to 2020.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe believes the revised contract is an indication that Brady intends to keep playing in 2019 (Twitter link). While his 2019 dead cap number was previously $7MM, that’s since been boosted to $12MM. If the Patriots weren’t confident that their quarterback was going to stick around the NFL, there wouldn’t have been much of an incentive for the salary-to-bonus conversion.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Latest On Tom Brady’s Revised Deal

Although the Patriots have Tom Brady at a bargain price, this week’s incentive-laden agreement will make the future Hall of Fame passer remain on the NFL’s elite level to see any pay bumps.

The team agreed to a $5MM incentive package with its superstar quarterback Thursday, which could — if certain statistical thresholds are met — increase his 2018 base salary to $20MM. But he’ll have to stay at or very close to his current performance level to collect the extra cash, and that isn’t exactly common for 41-year-old passers.

Despite Brady’s status as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, he will need to finish in the top five of the following categories to earn these additional millions — passing yards, touchdown passes, passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage — to meet these incentive requirements, Albert Breer of SI.com reports (on Twitter).

Brady will receive $1MM for each incentive met, but Breer adds he can take a shortcut here by leading the Pats to another Super Bowl championship. A Super Bowl title would bring a $2MM bump, but it wouldn’t be $2MM on top of $5MM. The package maxes out at $5MM regardless, but a Super Bowl title would just allow Brady to earn the $5MM by hitting three of the regular-season-based incentives rather than five (Twitter link). He must throw a minimum of 224 passes or play 70 percent of the Patriots’ regular-season snaps to qualify.

This bonus package differs from the one New England gave Rob Gronkowski last season. Gronkowski had to meet certain numbers to kick in the incentives, rather than be among the best in the game. However, the Patriots also allowed for their tight end to max out the bonuses based on a first-team All-Pro appearance, which he did.

Brady indeed finished in the top five of these categories in 2017, but in 2015 — his most recent full season — his work in some of these categories would have left him short of these benchmarks. It’s interesting the Patriots would place the incentives on the level they have, given Brady’s low salary for a franchise quarterback and his contributions to the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Harvey Langi To Miss Time WIth Internal Laceration

Patriots edge rusher Harvey Langi is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering an internal laceration caused by a hit during practice, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). While the issue certainly seems serious, a source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that the injury is relatively minor, and Langi is simply being sidelined for “precautionary reasons.” This isn’t the first time Langi has been hurt by a freak injury, as he and his wife were involved in a serious car crash last October that ultimately landed him on the non-football injury list. An undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2017, Langi was a hot commodity as a UDFA and was reportedly impressing in camp. While this latest health issue may not affect him for the long-term, Langi will lose valuable reps as the preseason continues.

Patriots Unlikely To Re-Sign Malcolm Mitchell

  • While the Ravensrecent meeting with free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland “went well,” the ex-Redskins defensive back is apparently looking for a larger contract than Baltimore is comfortable with, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Breeland, whose three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers was voided this spring after he failed a physical, has drawn the interest of the Patriots, Jets, Raiders, Chiefs, Browns, and Colts. Clearly, something is preventing clubs from pulling the lever on Breeland, and financial demands or health concerns are both viable options. Baltimore, notably, seemingly has plenty of corner depth with Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, and others in tow.
  • After being waived earlier this week, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is an unlikely candidate to return to the Patriots, according to Doug Kyed of NESN. Mitchell, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, has struggled with injuries for much of the past two seasons, and Kyed indicates New England was simply tired of waiting for Mitchell to get healthy. The 25-year-old Mitchell passed through waivers unclaimed after being cut, so it’s clear the rest of the NFL is weary of Mitchell’s health issues, as well.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/9/18

As we get set for preseason football, we’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Detroit Lions

  • Waived from injured reserve: WR Deontez Alexander

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Patriots Sweeten Tom Brady’s Contract

The Patriots will add up to $5MM in performance-based incentives to Tom Brady’s contract, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), allowing him to make up to $20MM. The move is reminiscent of what the Pats did last year with tight end Rob Gronkowski

Brady was scheduled to make $15MM in base salary this season, an absolute bargain for the game’s top quarterback. For reference, Brady’s former backup Jimmy Garoppolo will carry a $37MM cap number in 2018. Of course, even with the potential to earn up to $20MM in 2018, Brady is still an absolute bargain for New England.

The Patriots quarterback abstained from voluntary OTAs this offseason and his absence may have been tied to dissatisfaction with his contract. By amending Brady’s deal, it appears the Patriots have mended fences with their star player.

The five-time Super Bowl winner turned 41 this summer, but he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down. Last year, he completed 66.3% of his passes for a league-leading 4,577 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Oprah, Brady indicated that retirement is not on his mind.

“As long as I’m still loving it,” Brady said. “As long as I’m loving the training and the preparation and willing to make the commitment. But it’s also, I think what I alluded to a lot in the docu-series, there’s other things happening in my life, too. I do have kids that I love, and I don’t want to be a dad that’s not there, driving my kids to their games . . . my kids have brought a great perspective in my life. Kids just want the attention. You better be there. And be available to them.”

Brady’s current deal runs through the 2019 season. Prior to Thursday’s agreement, each season called for Brady to carry a cap number of $22MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.