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• 5/8/2019 - Tom Brady agrees to contract extension with Patriots

For his 42nd birthday, Tom Brady (New England Patriots championship rings) received a special gift from the New England Patriots: a long-awaited contract extension.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback agreed to terms on a two-year, $70 million contract extension with New England on Sunday, a source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal raises Brady's 2019 salary from $15 million to $23 million. Brady is then scheduled to make $30 million in 2020 and $32 million in 2021, though both Brady and New England are "amenable" to adjusting the numbers if necessary, Rapoport added.

Already in uncharted territory, Brady is now under contract through 2021, his age-44 season. The quarterback has insisted for years that he would like to play until he's at least 45 years old. This deal keeps that goal still in the realm of possibility.

Brady was set to enter the final season of a two-year restructured deal agreed to last August before he struck an extension with the Pats this weekend. Brady was scheduled to make $15 million and carry a $27 million cap hit in 2019. The Patriots QB has still never entered a season in the final year of his deal.

The six-time Super Bowl (super bowl rings for sale) champion was never at risk of entering the 2019 season without assurances past this campaign. Striking a deal was a matter of when not if. Brady and the Pats came to agreement on Aug. 4, nearly one year to the day when they agreed to a restructured deal in 2018 (Aug. 10), so a contract adjustment like this was not unprecedented.

Brady appeared calmly confident this week when asked whether he deserved a contract extension, joking to reporters, "Have I earned [an extension]? I don't know. That's up for talk show debate. What do you guys think? Should we take a poll?"

There's no denying Brady deserved assurances from the Patriots past this season, but negotiating extensions for players of his age is not an exact science. The QB's ability to play into his 40s at an MVP level is unprecedented, and New England does not have a succession plan yet.

For some time, Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers championship rings for sale) was thought to be the heir to the throne, but New England traded him to San Francisco during the 2017 season. Behind Brady now are journeyman backup Brian Hoyer and rookie Jarrett Stidham, not exactly world-beaters.

Brady's play has barely taken a dip. After his 2017 MVP campaign, the Patriots QB got off to a slow start but finished with 4,355 yards, 29 touchdowns, 11 picks and, most importantly, one Lombardi trophy.

However, there's no telling when a quarterback, even one as limber as Brady, will see a dropoff in ability. Peyton Manning's skill memorably fell off a cliff during Denver's 2015 Super Bowl (authentic nfl super bowl rings for sale) season before the Broncos QB announced his retirement. The difference: Manning had myriad injury issues, while Brady has stayed relatively healthy since he tore his ACL in 2008.

Most important in Brady's extension might be the flexibility. The sides' reported willingness to revisit Brady's contract after every season allows for the two to tinker with his salary and bonuses, as they see fit.

Through thick and thin, Brady and New England have demonstrated a strong and unique working relationship. The historic success this century of both the quarterback and franchise are inextricably linked. Sunday's news confirmed that will remain the case until at least 2021.

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• 30/7/2019 - Top 100 Players of 2019, Nos. 30-28: Odell Beckham rises

It's that time of year again, when NFL (super bowl ring for sale) players cast their votes to identify the best in the league heading into the 2019 NFL season. From July 22 through the 31st, NFL Media will reveal a new set of 10 names daily from the "Top 100 Players of 2019." Check in here and on NFL Network each day at 9 p.m. ET to see where your favorite players rank.

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The string of young safeties continues as we went the top-30. Jackson was drafted in 2017 with Jamal Adams, but went 106 spots lower. Now, he joins the Top 100 with Adams, but seven spots higher. Jackson is now the third Bears (Chicago Bears championship rings for sale) defender to make the list, joining Akiem Hicks (39) and Kyle Fuller (95). His career is young, but Jackson already has a knack for finding the ball and taking it to the house. He had two touchdowns as a rookie -- a 75-yard fumble return and a 76-yard interception return, in the same game! Jackson followed that up with three defensive touchdowns in 2018, all coming in separate games this time. Defensive touchdowns are usually more random, but Jackson clearly has something figured out.

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Kittle (championship rings for sale) makes it consecutive late-round 2017 draftees after Eddie Jackson. The former fifth-round pick establishved himself as a top tight end in 2018. Kittle and Travis Kelce were the only two tight ends in the NFL () with 85-plus catches and 1,300-plus receiving yards -- and his 1,377 yards were a record for a tight end. Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3, so most of Kittle's production came with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens at quarterback. If Jimmy G can look as good on the field as he does off, Kittle could be in for an even better year in 2019.

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One year after winning the Super Bowl (authentic super bowl rings for sale), Cox makes a huge leap in the Top 100. And for good reason as Cox set career marks in sacks (10.5), tackles for loss (12) and quarterback hits (34) in 2018. Cox has been a stabilizing force for Philadelphia since he was drafted in 2012. The Eagles made a huge bet when they handed him $63 million guaranteed after his first Pro Bowl season three summers ago. Fair to say it has paid off, as he's made three straight Pro Bowls since re-signing. Next season will be a new challenge for Cox. The Eagles lost Michael Bennett and Chris Long, two key pass rushers who won a Super Bowl alongside Cox. Reinforcements are coming in the form of Malik Jackson and former Eagle Vinny Curry, so don't expect much drop off from the 28-year-old.

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