Len Pasquarelli

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Wednesday, September 4
Patriots' salary cap will take eventual hit

By Len Pasquarelli

The contract extension signed by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady last week is worth more than $30 million in so-called "new money" and keeps his salary cap number more than palatable for this season before escalating dramatically in cap value in its later years.

According to NFL Players Association documents obtained by ESPN.com, the third-year veteran received a signing bonus of $3.5 million but kept his 2002 base salary at $375,000, the amount negotiated in his initial rookie contract in 2000. His salary cap value for 2002 is just $1.091 million.

But after this year the value of Brady's contract, and the cap charges, spiral upward. Brady is due a $6 million option payment next March to trigger the remainder of the contract. The base salaries for the four-year extension portion of the deal then become $3.125 million (2003), $5.5 million (2004), $5.5 million (2005) and $6 million (2006). The final season also includes $500,000 in incentives.

There are workout bonuses of $5,600 each for 2003 and '04 and $6,160 each for '05 and '06. The total "new money" is $30.148 million.

The extension, negotiated by Don Yee, was generally characterized as being worth between $28 million and $30 million, but the precise contract breakdown had not been previously reported.

The future salary cap charges: $5.33 million ('03); $7.705 million ('04); $7.706 million ('05); and $8.706 million ('06).

The term "new money" refers to the total value of the contract, minus what Brady was due under his original deal. The per-year average for the extension is a whopping $7.537 million.

A sixth-round choice in the 2000 draft, Brady signed a three-year contract that included a $38,500 signing bonus and minimum base salaries.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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