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