New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady enters the 2019 NFL season with $23 million salary and the fourth-highest career earnings haul in league history, but the 42-year-old star began his pro career with a far more humble paycheck.
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As an unheralded sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady played the first few seasons of his career on a minimum contract that paid him just $193,000 as a rookie. By the end of the 2001 season, Brady had shocked the league by rising from fourth string on the Patriots’ depth chart to Super Bowl champion.
Through 19 NFL seasons, Brady has won six Super Bowls and earned more than $212 million in salary and bonuses, more than any other player except fellow quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Drew Brees. Despite that massive tally, Brady has routinely accepted deals at far below market value or adjusted his scheduled pay to provide the Patriots with more salary cap flexibility.
Brady reached terms on a contract extension this week that will pay him $23 million for the 2019 season, which ranks sixth among the NFL’s starting quarterbacks. He is set to earn $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021, though both Brady and the Patriots plan to renegotiate the deal’s terms each offseason, according to multiple reports.
FOX Business breaks down major contract milestones in Brady’s career below. Several of the contracts were later altered from their announced terms.
Staff photo by Gregory Rec -- Thursday, January 31, 2001 -- Tom Brady was all smiles at a press conference on Thursday after being named starting quarterback for the Patriots on Sunday. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Brady entered the NFL on a minimum contract. He earned $193,000 as a rookie and just $298,000 in a 2001 season that culminated in a Super Bowl win.
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 3: New England Patriots quarterbacks Damon Huard, left, and Tom Brady, right, share a laugh at practice. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Months prior to the 2002 season, Brady agreed to a four-year contract extension worth roughly $30 million, including a $10 million signing bonus.
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 17: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots moves in play action during the NFL game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 17, 2005 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Bucs 28-0. (Phot
After winning the second and third Super Bowls of his career in 2003 and 2004, Brady agreed to a six-year, $60 million contract extension that included a $14.5 million signing bonus, the Boston Herald reported.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on from the sidelines during the game against the New York Jets during the game on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.Th
Brady signed a four-year contract extension worth $72 million, with $48.5 million guaranteed, the Boston Globe reported. At the time, the deal established Brady as the highest-paid player in NFL history based on average annual salary – a title that he has rarely held during his career despite massive spikes in quarterback income.
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 3: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts to the cheers of fans as he runs onto the field before a game with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rog
Amid the longest championship drought of his career, Brady signed a five-year contract extension worth $57 million – an amount considered well below market value for a player widely regarded as the NFL’s best quarterback. The contract included a $30 million signing bonus, according to the Boston Herald.
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
With fallout from the infamous "DeflateGate" scandal looming, Brady signed a four-year contract worth $60 million.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 20: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Patrio
Billed as a two-year, $70 million extension, Brady’s latest contract will pay him $23 million for the 2019 season, with future pay to be determined on a year-by-year basis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.