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Report: Tom Brady to Be Free Agent in 2020 Despite New Patriots Contract

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady runs onto the practice field prior to an NFL football training camp practice in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
Stew Milne/Associated Press

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be eligible for free agency following the 2019 season despite signing a two-year extension on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.  

Rapoport reported Monday that the final two years of Brady's contract "automatically void" on the final day of the 2019 league year. Terms of the agreement do not allow New England to place the franchise or transition tag on the signal-caller, resulting in him becoming a free agent should a new deal not be reached before then.

Brady's new deal bumped his 2019 salary from $15 million to $23 million, making him the sixth-highest-paid quarterback in the league. Under terms of the extension, he would have been owed $30 million next year and $32 million in 2021.

Rapoport previously reported the two sides would be "amenable" to revising the contract if necessary.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Patriots and QB Tom Brady are in agreement on a 2-year deal worth $70M, source said, thru 2021. He gets $23M this year, then $30M and $32M in the following years — though both sides are amenable to adjusting it if the situations warrants. It’s essentially year-to-year.

ESPN's Adam Schefter noted the extension gave New England an additional $5.5 million in cap space for  2019.

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Brady has maintained a high level of play even as he has aged. The 42-year-old is coming off a season in which he completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns, leading the Patriots to their third Super Bowl title in five seasons.

PFF NE Patriots @PFF_Patriots

Tom Brady came in on the #NFL100 at #6, but @PFF has him at #2 overall and the top offensive player entering 2019 on the #PFF50. https://t.co/Peb8G7nTZC https://t.co/ah8gz68gaQ

He now has won six Lombardi Trophies in his career.

Voiding the final two years of the new contract would allow New England to re-sign Brady in March (or later) while having a better feel for its salary-cap situation. Brady has made no secret about his desire to continue playing football, saying as recently as September that he wants to play until he's 45.

Given his durability through the years, there's no reason to think his body won't be able to handle a 16- to 19-game grind moving forward. Brady has missed a total of 19 games in approximately 18 years as a starting NFL quarterback, with 15 of those contests coming when he tore his ACL in the 2008 season opener. The other four games were non-injury related (2016 Deflategate suspension).

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