-- The New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady have agreed to a two-year contract extension through 2019 (first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini), representing the first domino to fall as the team positions itself financially for a critical stretch in the not-too-distant future.
That was the first thought that came to mind Monday morning, almost like deja vu thinking back to December of 2014 when Brady restructured his pact, and also in February of 2013 when the contract was last extended.
The Patriots, currently with about $13 million in salary-cap space (close to one of the lowest totals among teams), have four up-and-coming defenders whose contracts expire after the 2016 season: linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower, defensive end Chandler Jones, and cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Because of this, the team has to be smart in the financial commitments it makes, managing its salary cap with a strategy that accounts for the possibility of big-ticket extensions for Collins, Hightower, Jones and Butler, among others.
As part of that strategy of managing the cap, it makes sense to start at the top.
Brady has a $15 million cap charge for 2016, the highest on the team, and the extension -- which Schefter and Russini report might not become official immediately -- should lower that number to provide more cap flexibility to the team (while raising Brady's cash intake).
That's the biggest takeaway from the extension, and here are a few more: Unique dynamic between Brady's camp and team.