Mike ReissESPN Staff WriterClose
- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN in 2009
ATLANTA — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 42 in August, and the 2019 season will mark the final year of his contract. But owner Robert Kraft indicated Wednesday that he wouldn’t have reservations about extending the pact as Brady attempts to achieve his goal of playing until he’s 45.
“Think about it: The last three years we’ve been privileged to go to the Super Bowl with a quarterback in place. I would be quite surprised if he didn’t continue for quite a while as our quarterback,” Kraft said at Super Bowl LIII after attending commissioner Roger Goodell’s news conference.
An extension for Brady could be a top priority for the club this offseason. The sides have traditionally reached an extension with two years remaining on the deal, which might add a layer of urgency to get it done this offseason.
Brady is scheduled to count $27 million against the salary cap in 2019. That’s a high number that could be reduced, allowing the team more flexibility to sign other players while also giving Brady more money in a signing bonus or guarantees into future years.
“The reality is I don’t think many people thought I’d be playing like this even though I had a great belief I would,” Brady said when asked what it means to have support for playing until he’s 45, which is uncharted territory. “I think RKK [Kraft] has always supported me in my beliefs and thoughts. That’s why we have a great relationship.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brady in 2019 would become just the fourth player to spend at least 20 seasons with one NFL team. He would join Jason Hanson (21 seasons with the Lions), Darrell Green (20 with the Redskins) and Jackie Slater (20 with the Rams) on that list.
Asked how much Brady means to the franchise, Kraft said, “Having the head coach [Bill Belichick] we have and having Tom, there is a unique symmetry there, and chemistry. It carries over to the whole organization. I think we’re very lucky.”