The Agent Opinion: Examining Tom Brady's Next Move and How It Could Impact the Buccaneers Financially

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The most challenging season of Tom Brady’s 23-year NFL career came to an end on Monday night when the Buccaneers lost 31-14 to the Cowboys in the wild card round of the playoffs. Brady’s decision to end his brief 40-day retirement last offseason to continue playing football cost him his 13-year marriage to supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The divorce was finalized at the end of October.

Brady had his first losing season in the NFL. The Buccaneers beat a weak NFC South with an 8-9 record.

Father Time has finally started to catch up with the 45-year-old. He hasn’t come close to replicating his MVP-caliber campaign in 2021, in which he threw for a league-leading (and career-high) 5,316 yards and 43 touchdown passes. Brady broke his own NFL single-season records with 733 pass attempts and 490 completions this season. He was also third in the league with 4,694 passing yards.

Brady looked his age against the Cowboys. It was arguably the worst playoff game of his career. He completed just 53% of his staggering 66 pass attempts and was lucky to throw just one interception.

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Brady’s contract history with Bucs

Brady was no commitment to your future during his post-game press conference. He stated that he would take things “one day at a time”.

Brady is set to enter free agency for the second time in his career, as his contract expires on March 15th. He cannot be prevented from entering the open market. Brady’s contract contains a clause that prohibits the Buccaneers from designating him as a franchise or transition player.

The Buccaneers radically changed their approach to salary cap management after signing Brady to a two-year, $50 million fully guaranteed contract, worth a maximum of $59 million, with incentives as an unrestricted free agent in March 2020. win-now staffing were done constantly with little regard for long-term planning. Salary cap obligations were consistently pushed into the future through a series of contract restructurings with a number of players, including Brady. The account will begin to mature if Brady retires.

Brady released $19.3 million from the 2021 salary cap that March with a one-year, $27,941,176 contract extension, which helped the Buccaneers “keep the band together” to try to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

The extension included three null/fictitious contract years (2023 to 2025), so his $20 million Fifth Day 2021 League Year Fully Guaranteed roster bonus and $20 million signing bonus could be prorated to the over five years (until 2025) instead of just two years (until 2022). Both salary components were prorated according to the salary cap at $4 million annually over those five years.

After Brady decided to play the 23rd season, his contract was reworked again this past April. Instead of earning $10,395,588 in 2022 with a $20,270,588 cap, his compensation was increased to $15 million, essentially buying out the $4.5 million of incentives in his contract.

$13.88 million was converted into a roster bonus due one day after executing the new contract that would be prorated over the term of the contract, as a signing bonus, while a dummy/nullify contract year of 2026 was added. The new dummy/void year allowed the roster bonus to be prorated to the salary cap at $2.776 million annually from 2022 to 2026. Brady’s 2022 cap number dropped to $11.896 million in the process.

How Brady’s decision affects the Buccaneers financially

If Brady retires

The Buccaneers will have $35.104 million in dead money, a salary cap charge for a player no longer on the roster, if Brady retires. Dead money would consist of $12 million in prorated 2021 roster bonus (2023 to 2025), $12 million in prorated signing bonus (2023 to 2025) and $11.104 million in prorated 2022 roster bonus (2023 to 2026).

An already difficult 2023 salary cap situation would get worse with Brady’s $35.104 million of dead money. Assuming the 2023 salary cap is set around $225 million, Tampa Bay would be approximately $52.5 million overpaid using NFLPA data under offseason accounting rules, in which only the top 51 salaries (or i.e. threshold numbers) matter.

There is a way for Tampa Bay to get more favorable treatment out of Brady’s retirement. Brady and the Buccaneers would need to modify his contract so that his fictional/voiding contract year of 2023 would be turned into an actual contract year with his minimum base salary of $1.165 million in the league as compensation. The void date for contract years 2024 to 2026 can be moved from the last day of the 2022 league year (March 15) to the last day of the 2023 league year, or these three years can be made into contract years. actual contract.

The Buccaneers would take Brady with his new cap number of $11.941 million for 2023 until June 2, when his retirement would be processed and his base salary of $1.165 million would be off the books. By waiting until June 2, the Buccaneers would be able to split the $35.104 million in dead money into $10.776 million in 2023 and $24.328 million in 2024. The $8 million from the 2021 roster bonus proration from 2024 and 2025, the The $8 million in prorated signing bonuses relating to 2024 and 2025, as well as the $8.328 million in prorated 2022 roster bonuses awarded from 2024 to 2026, would not reach Tampa Bay’s salary cap until 2024.

If Brady signs with another team

Brady playing a 24th season for another team would be the least desirable outcome for the Buccaneers from a salary cap standpoint. There would be no way around Brady’s $35.104 million of dead money being a 2023 cap charge. The remaining $24.328 million of prorated bonuses related to his fictitious 2024-2026 contract would hit Tampa Bay’s 2023 salary cap in 15 March, when those years would be annulled.

The Raiders are the most obvious team for Brady because of his connection to Josh McDaniels and quarterback Derek Carr. being traded or released. McDaniels was Brady’s quarterback coach and/or offensive coordinator for 13 of his 20 seasons with the Patriots. CBS Sports NFL writer Cody Benjamin identified several potential Brady landing sites earlier this week if he decides to continue playing football.

If Brady returns to the Bucs

The Buccaneers reportedly want Brady to come back if he continues to play. In a Brady return to Tampa Bay, a deal would likely be reached a day or two before the current league year’s end of March 15 so that the Buccaneers could avoid charging $35.104 million from Brady’s fictitious contract cancellation. Brady.

Brady’s voided contracts from 2023 to 2026 each have a base salary of $30 million. $30 million for 2023 would be in line with the $87,795,588 Brady earned from his NFL player contracts during his three years with the Buccaneers, which averaged just over $29.25 million a year.

$28.835 million of the $30 million could be a fully guaranteed roster bonus due within days of signing the new contract, leaving Brady with a league-minimum base salary of $1.165 million. The $30 million base salary would remain for the 2024 and 2026 contract years, while a $30 million 2027 contract year could be added. Those four years could be voided on the final day of the 2024 league year. Brady’s no-trade clause and language preventing a transitional franchise or tag that was in his other Buccaneers contracts would continue to be included.

The $28.835 million would be prorated against the salary cap at $5.767 million annually over the five years (2023 to 2027). Brady’s cap for 2023 would be $17.708 million. The components would be Brady’s $1.165 million base salary, $4 million prorated 2021 roster bonus, $4 million prorated pre-existing signing bonus, $2.776 million prorated 2022 roster bonus, and $5.767 million of the escalation bonus proration.

Brady prefers a lineup bonus over a signing bonus. The Buccaneers would not be entitled to compensation for any type of breach of contract, including retirement, after the 2023 league year with the roster bonus.

The big downside to having as much of Brady’s 2023 compensation as possible being prorated is that there would be $23.068 million of new dead money with Brady retiring after the 2023 season. it would likely be split into $16.543 million in 2024 and $30.853 million in 2025.

final thoughts

No matter what Brady decides, he’s going to be fine. Brady ending his career where it’s clear he held out for a long time wouldn’t diminish his legacy. He would still go on to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the greatest quarterback of all time.

Brady already has a great post-career transition. He will become Fox Sports’ lead analyst on NFL games and will work as an “ambassador” for the network focusing on “customers and promotional initiatives” once he permanently hangs up his boots.

Brady’s deal is worth $375 million over 10 years. It is the most lucrative contract in the history of sports broadcasting. Brady’s contract value with Fox Sports is greater than what he earned from his NFL player contracts. None of Brady’s NFL player contracts average $37.5 million a year as his broadcast contract.

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