According to a report in the Providence Journal a disagreement between the Patriots and two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady regarding the disbursement of a $24 million signing bonus is delaying a contract extension for the New England signal caller.
Rumors of an imminent deal between Brady, who has two years remaining on his current contract, and the Patriots became strong a month ago. But according to the Journal a team-proposed, four-installment signing bonus payout in a deal that would total six-years and $60 million has brought the negotiations to a near standstill.
The *Journal *report states that Brady had hoped to have the extension done before he left for a trip to Europe earlier this month, but the unusual bonus proposal made that impossible from Brady's standpoint. Under the Patriots payment plan the $24 million bonus would come in four payments, with more than half the money coming in the first two years of the deal. But the real wrinkle in the negations is the fact that the unpaid bonus money due later in the deal would not be guaranteed, meaning if Brady got hurt early in the contract he would never see the unpaid "bonus" money.
While the $24 million bonus would put Brady in the ranks of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL including Peyton Manning and Michael Vick, two guys who received guaranteed bonus money of more than $30 million, the strange bonus payout clearly makes the Patriots proposal less desirable for the New England quarterback who has led his team to three Super Bowl wins in four seasons as a starter.
Brady's current contract will pay him salaries of $5.5 and $6 million over the next two seasons through 2006. One interesting note to keep in mind in all contract negotiations in the coming years is the fact that due to a lack of an extension between the NFL and the Players Association on the collective bargaining agreement the 2007 seasons is currently slated to be an uncapped year. The prospect of a guy like Brady or any other high profile player hitting the open market in a year where teams are not restrained by salary camp limitations is an intriguing one.
So while recent reports had the Brady extension all but signed, today's *Journal *report about the current language of the deal and bonus payout, makes that seem unlikely.