Tom Brady gives Pats cap room

Updated: March 22, 2012, 8:45 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady restructured the remaining three years of his contract, helping the team create $7.2 million in salary cap space this year, a source confirmed.

As part of the restructure, Brady had his 2012 base salary reduced from $5.75 million to $950,000. The team then took the remaining $4.8 million, combined it with a $6 million roster bonus due to him, and gave him a $10.8 million signing bonus.

Brady doesn't have his salary reduced, he just receives the money in a different form.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, speaking at a community event on Thursday at Gillette Stadium, calling the restructuring a "win-win all-around" for Brady and the team.

"I think we're blessed to have the number one quarterback in the NFL," Kraft said of Brady. "But let's also remember, that when he restructures his deal, he's getting a big bundle of cash up-front. But it is helping us create cap room."

With the additional $7.2 million in cap space created by Brady's restructuring, Kraft was asked if it meant the team was clearing cap space to make what a reporter called a "big move."

"I don't know what that means, 'big move.' Remember, we are in the business of quality depth management," Kraft said. "It's a physical game and you have injuries, and you need depth on your team."

Unlike some other clubs that were forced into restructures because they were tight to the cap, the Patriots were already in good shape with the cap even before this restructuring,which raises the question as to why the Patriots would tweak Brady's pact.

The cap space could be used for more roster moves or perhaps for contract extensions for players already on the roster. The extra salary cap space creates a situation where the Patriots, from a cash flow perspective, could give a player a larger base salary in 2012 (paid out over the course of the year) instead of an up-front signing bonus (paid in full at the time of signing).

"I think leading up to the draft we're going to have a very interesting offseason continue to develop," Kraft said. "We've had some great moves already, and [that] will continue to happen."

The downside of the restructured contract for the team is that Brady's salary cap charge in 2013 and 2014 rises to almost $22 million, a high figure for the Patriots to manage.

Information from Mike Rodak was used in this report.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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