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Tom Brady Explains Why He Doesn't Mind Not Being Among the NFL's Highest-Paid QBs

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Tom Brady is one of the greatest and most accomplished quarterbacks in NFL history, as his record six Super Bowl rings can attest.

But despite Brady’s incredible record of success and his continued strong performance at age 41, the New England Patriots’ signal-caller is in the middle of the pack when it comes to NFL salary.

Heading into the 2019 season, Brady’s contract ranks 18th in average salary at his position, according to Spotrac — behind the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo (No. 6), Derek Carr (No. 8) and Alex Smith (No. 11).

But Brady isn’t worried about it. In fact, it’s his choice: He has willingly taken less money to benefit the Patriots, as he explained Thursday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“Shouldn’t you be the highest-paid guy?” host Kimmel asked.

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“That’s a good question. … I think the thing I’ve always felt for me, and my life, winning has been a priority — and my wife makes a lot of money,” Brady said. “I’m a little smarter than you think.”

Brady may be the only NFL player who makes less money than his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The couple has an estimated net worth of $580 million, with roughly $400 million attributed to Bundchen.

“Actually, it’s the salary cap. You can only spend so much,” Brady continued. “The more one guy gets, it’s less for others. For a competitive advantage standpoint, I like to get a lot of good players around me.”

Do you think Tom Brady's decision to accept much less money gives the Patriots an unfair advantage?

Brady’s 2019 salary of $15 million includes $14 million in base salary and another $1 million in roster bonuses.

The roster bonuses are practically guaranteed as Brady just needs to be healthy next season in order to reach them. He will receive $62,500 for every game he’s on the active roster next year in addition to the $14 million in yearly salary.

The most Brady has ever made in a single-season is $19.8 million during the 2011 season. He ranks fourth all-time in career earnings at over $212 million.

Not only is Brady far behind where he could be in average salary, but he also trails in the percentage of the contract that is guaranteed.

Just 33 percent of Brady’s current deal is guaranteed, which is less than half of the percentage guarantees for Russell Wilson (76 percent), Aaron Rodgers (74 percent) and, of course, Kirk Cousins (100 percent).

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While Brady said he takes less money so the Patriots can put that money toward other players, the free agent additions New England has made this offseason have been less than inspiring.

The biggest name is wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who will turn 32 next season, is coming off a torn Achilles tendon and has seen his receiving yards drop in four straight years.

The Patriots also added tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is on his fourth team in four years and will be tasked with replacing the retired Rob Gronkowski.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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