Spotlight on Tom Brady's contract situation

So you've been bebopping along through the offseason, not paying much attention to contract issues and the like. Then, in the days before training camps open, Tom Brady's status with the New England Patriots has turned into an hot issue.

What gives?

ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss has produced a comprehensive primer on Brady's situation, taking a look at his current contract and all the factors impacting an extension with the New England Patriots.

For the first time, Brady is entering the final year of a contract. He's not expected to hold out when Patriots camp opens July 30 at Gillette Stadium.

But this is a storyline to monitor, and Reiss' piece makes that easy to do.

The analysis breaks down several aspects:

  • The six-year, $60 million extension Brady signed in 2005 and how it compares to Peyton Manning's deal.

  • Where negotiations stand.

  • How No. 1 pick Sam Bradford's eventual contract with the St. Louis Rams will effect Brady and Manning.

  • Snags caused by the uncapped year.

  • Patriots owner Robert Kraft's role as an influential owner with labor talks in the offing.

  • How the franchise tag would help ensure Brady remains a Patriot even if they can't reach an accord by the end of the season.