A day after his 42nd birthday, the New England Patriots gifted veteran quarterback Tom Brady with a two-year extension worth $70 million. The Patriots will pay Brady $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021. Included in the extension is an $8 million pay raise, for the 2019 season, bumping his salary to $23 million in the 2019 season. The additional salary makes Brady the 6th highest-paid quarterback in the league, tying him with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

The deal means Brady will have a chance to play for the Patriots until he’s 44 years old. Brady mentioned, several times earlier, that he wants to play until he’s 45 years old. Also, it prevented Brady from entering a contract year and hitting the free-agent market after the 2019 season. It was earlier reported that Brady was disgruntled with the lack of contract extension from the Patriots, but in his latest interview, the veteran quarterback said he wasn’t concerned about a new deal.

Patriots earn additional salary cap space

Despite the bump in salary for Brady, the Patriots still earned an additional $5.5 million in salary-cap space, increasing their room to sign a new player or trade for one to $12.99 million, according to Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal. With the additional cap space for 2019, the Patriots have room to trade for Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams, who remains in holdout because he was discontented with his current deal.

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The 31-year-old Williams is slated to earn $11 million in 2019, according to Ben Volin of Boston Globe. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Williams is considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL since his arrival in 2010. The Patriots currently have Isaiah Wynn at offensive tackle but he has yet to fully recover from the Achilles injury that forced him to miss all of his rookie years since being taken in the first round by New England in 2018.

Patriots have room to sign Gronkowski

According to Doug Kyed, of New England Sports Network (NESN), Brady’s contract extension gives the Patriots financial flexibility as they have the option to void the last two years and spread Brady’s salary over three years to lower his cap hit for 2019. Meaning, Kyed said the Patriots have a chance to trade for Williams or sign retired tight end Rob Gronkowski midway through the season if he decides to return and help the team in their playoff push.

As of now, the Patriots are thin at tight end with Matt LaCosse on the top of their depth chart. Aside from LaCosse, the Patriots have veteran Ben Watson, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Lance Kendricks in their tight end pool. In case the Patriots decide to stay with their current lineup, they can carry the cap space into the 2020 season and surround Brady with key players who can help him win.

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