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Tom Brady signs extension with New England Patriots

While the rest of the league was concentrating on the NFL Scouting Combine, the New England Patriots were busy locking up their future Hall of Fame quarterback to a "contract for life."

SI.com's Peter King broke the news Monday that the Patriots have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep Tom Brady under contract through the 2017 season, when he'll be 40. NFL.com's Albert Breer reports the deal is signed.

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Brady through the years

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What's noteworthy about Brady's new contract is that he stands to collect just $27 million over the three years, which essentially is half of his market value. It's the second time in Brady's career that he has left a stack of money on the bargaining table in order to give the Patriots a competitive advantage.

Consider it just another perk of enjoying a supermodel for a spouse.

We shouldn't bend over backwards to turn Brady into a good Samaritan, however. The extension -- which is guaranteed, a source told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport -- gives Brady the security of at least $41 million that won't be ripped up by the Patriots at a later date.

Here are Brady's numbers against the salary cap:

2013: $13.8 million

2014: $14.8 million

2015: $13 million

2016: $14 million

2017: $15 million

Breer points out, the Patriots build their organization with two-year windows in mind. A Patriots source told Breer that the Brady extension creates "well over" $30 million in salary-cap space over the next two years and $20 million for 2013 alone.

The logical implication is that the 2013 cap savings will be used toward a new contract for free agent -- and Brady friend -- Wes Welker. Or the Patriots could let Welker walk and devote some of those funds toward a player such as wide receiver Mike Wallace. Monday's news means the Patriots will be players in free agency.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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