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Tom Brady's Incentives Reportedly Include Bonuses For Finishing Top-Five In Statistical Categories

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- On Thursday, several reports surfaced about new incentives added to Tom Brady's contract that would allow the quarterback to earn $5 million more in 2018. The specifics, though, remained unknown. Until now.

On Friday afternoon, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that Brady can earn an extra $1 million for ranking in the top five in the NFL in the following categories:

--Passer rating
--Completion percentage
--Yards per attempt
--Touchdown passes
--Passing yards

Breer noted that each is worth $1 million, but if the Patriots win the Super Bowl, they'll each be worth $2 million. However the total amount of money earn is capped at $5 million total. So, if he lands in the top five of every category and wins the Super Bowl, he'll still make just $5 million.

The information is interesting because it, quite obviously, incentivizes Brady to try to boost his personal stats -- something that at times may conflict with the best interest of the team. A common scenario to consider is this: If the Patriots face a first-and-goal from the 2-yard line, will Brady force a passing play to try to pick up a passing touchdown, even when a running play looks to have a better chance of success? In recent years, even amid the remarkable late-career renaissance Brady has undergone, he's never hesitated to hand the ball off to let the running back pick up the touchdown.

(Side note: Pete Carroll says hello!)

That's a big reason why LeGarrette Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns two seasons ago. It was also the mind-set at play when Brady only attempted one goal-line pass to Martellus Bennett before going with a rushing play to James White for the championship-winning play in Super Bowl LI.

That being said, it hasn't kept Brady from amassing his own stats. Last year, he ranked in the top five in all five of those categories. A year before, despite being suspended for four games, he was in the top five of three of the categories and won the Super Bowl, so he would have earned the full $5 million under these guidelines. He's plenty good enough to earn the incentives without drastically changing anything about his game.

Still, when the masses are wondering loudly why Brady is still throwing passes late in the fourth quarter in a game which the Patriots lead comfortably, Brady's contract will now be involved in the local talking points. The criticism levied won't be entirely accurate -- Brady has always played deep into games that appeared to be well in hand -- but as this involves Brady, you can bet it will be coming.

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