While we have the outline of the contract extension signed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Monday, we've yet to see the final language of the deal, meaning for now our best estimate of the contract is that Brady is due to be paid $57 million over the next five seasons.
It wasn't long ago that a pair of other elite quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, signed five-year contracts with their teams, providing us a little bit of perspective on Brady's deal.
The deal for Manning in Denver is worth up to $96 million, which is tied into his health, as he inked the contract during his recovery from a major neck procedure. Assuming he passes a physical prior to the start of the 2013 league year, Manning will trigger a $40 million guarantee for 2013-2014, and he's already earned $18 million for his past year's work. There's no reason to believe he won't pass the physical, meaning he'll likely see at least $58 million of the total contract over three seasons, with $19 million salaries for 2015 and 2016 to be determined by future physicals passed. If Manning does not pass his physical prior to the 2015 season, he will have earned more money in three seasons ($58 million) than the estimated figure we have for Brady over five ($57 million).
Regarding Brees, he signed a $100 million deal that set an NFL record for guarantees with $60 million. Brees was paid $40 million in 2012 alone. His deal was an important one for New Orleans to agree to at the time, but the team has endured salary cap struggles this offseason, and Brees' big contract has limited its flexibility.
QUICK HIT: Considering all of the factors involved, including age, performance and salary cap implications, Brady's deal looks like the most favorable of the three. If Brady had reached the open market in 2015 after two more productive seasons, it's hard to imagine another scenario in which he would sign a deal for only $27 million, which is what his extension signed today amounts to.