By Eric Schmidt

Say what you will about Tom Brady, love him or hate him, but he showed on Monday that he is the consummate team player. In a move that was unexpected, the New England Patriots announced that Brady signed a contract extension for three years, $27 million dollars. The move keeps the signal caller in a Patriots jersey until the year 2017.

But, what the move does more than anything is free up money for the Patriots salary cap. The extension eases Brady’s salary cap number this year from $22 million to $13.8 million and frees up $15 million in the next two seasons combined. The extension is also less than Brady would have commanded had he hit the open market after the 2014 season. Somewhere, Joe Flacco is very upset right now.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday evening that this move might also signal that the Patriots might be open to trade offers for backup QB Ryan Mallet. Reports this offseason have linked Mallett to the Cleveland Browns.

Often, Brady draws criticism of being a selfish player, but this move on Monday signals that he is all about the team and focused on winning, not just the money. He should be applauded.

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