The NFL acted quickly in light of the Deflategate report and has suspended quarterback Tom Brady for four games, fined the Patriots $1 million, and taken away a first round pick in 2016 and a fourth rounder in 2017. Brady will have three days to file an appeal of the suspension, which the league has given for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL, seemingly in part for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
Brady will stand to lose $1,882,353 of his $8 million salary if the suspension holds following an appeal. Considering the Patriots likely feel that this is an improper punishment I would not be surprised if they rework the contract of their star quarterback to avoid such a fine being levied on Brady.
The Patriots can convert $7.03 million of Brady’s salary to a roster bonus which would not be subject to loss in the event of a suspension. That would change his base salary to the $970,000 league minimum which would result in a loss of just $228,235.30 for the quarterback. Teams in the past have done this to aid players in avoiding loss of salary from suspension if they felt the suspension was unjust or were looking to maintain good relations with the player as a new contract may come due.
The punishments are no surprise due to the public outcry against the actions of the Patriots, who are the defending Super Bowl champions. The fines and loss of draft picks I believe are in line with other issues in the past, especially since the organization has been accused of certain types of poor behavior in the past. I think the suspension of Brady is a bit excessive, but he became the face of the controversy.
Brady’s suspension won’t take place until the start of the regular season so no changes to his cap charge will occur until that date.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.