Brady restructures deal; why?

Brian McIntyre, who does a great job with "Mac's Football blog", detailed Wednesday night that quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract.

The information was confirmed (there was never a reason to doubt Mac) and one of the interesting questions from this perspective is "why?"

The Patriots were already in good shape with the salary cap. This wasn't a situation like the Steelers recently went through, where they were forced to restructure deals to get under the cap.

But in restructuring Brady's pact, the team picks up an additional $7.2 million in space. This provides the team even more flexibility than it already had.

On the flip side, it raises Brady's cap number to almost $22 million in 2013 and 2014, which is high and will be something for the team to manage (even as the cap is projected to rise).

Here is one thought as to why the Patriots restructured Brady's pact:

By creating more space this year, the Patriots open up an option where they can potentially address contracts of players who will be a priority in the near future, and do so by offering a larger base salary in 2012 instead of an up-front signing bonus.

That could help from a cash-flow perspective.

So, as an example, let's say the Patriots were thinking of pursuing contract extensions with tight ends Rob Gronkowski (expires at end of 2013) and Aaron Hernandez (expires at end of 2013).

This move with Brady creates a possibility where the team could sweeten their base salaries as part of an extension, taking advantage of the excess cap space they've created this year.