New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract last week, a league source confirmed on Wednesday.
Signed to a four-year, $72 million contract extension on September 10, 2010, Brady was scheduled to earn $5.75 million in base salary with a $6 million roster bonus and $250,000 workout bonus this season. Under the restructure, Brady's base salary was reduced to a fully guaranteed $950,000, with the leftover amount ($4.8 million) combined with the roster bonus and converted into a $10.8 million signing bonus that will be prorated over the three remaining years on Brady's contract.
Freeing up cash was unlikely to be the motivating factor in this restructure. Brady's base salary was to be paid over the course of the 2012 regular season and while the roster bonus counted immediately against the salary cap, payment of the $6 million was not due until February 15, 2013. The restructure does reduces significantly reduce Brady's 2012 cap number, which goes from $15.2 million to $8 million for the upcoming season, with $3.6 million in proration from his $10.8 million signing bonus added to his 2013 and 2014 cap numbers, which are now at $21.8 million in each season.
Even with wide receiver Wes Welker's $9.515 million franchise tender, the Patriots were in fine shape cap-wise prior to the restructure, which took place on March 16. Since then, the Patriots have signed wide receivers Anthony Gonzalez, Donte Stallworth and Brandon Lloyd, defensive end Trevor Scott, tight end Daniel Fells, guard Robert Gallery and cornerbacks Marquice Cole and Will Allen.