Bonus could affect Tom Brady talks

With quarterback Tom Brady entering the final year of his contract with the New England Patriots, the sides are expected to negotiate an extension that will likely make him one of the highest paid players in the NFL. The question is when those talks will truly heat up.

The presence of a $3 million roster bonus could potentially take negotiations to a higher level.

Brady is due the roster bonus on March 5, which is the first official day of the 2010 league year.

Roster bonuses can create an added incentive for a team to strike a deal with a player. Instead of paying the roster bonus and then later striking a lucractive extension, there is sometimes a benefit for the team to get it all done at once from an overall cash standpoint.

Brady's new deal could be anywhere from $15-18 million per season, and possibly higher, so it's difficult to gauge how much a $3 million roster bonus could factor into the pace of negotiations. But it is one factor that could come into play with Brady's contract situation.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston.