Originally written on Gridiron Grit  |  Last updated 3/22/12

Valuable Player Deion Branch stands on the podium after The New England Patriots defeated The Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on February 6, 2005. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots haven’t made a momentous splash during this 2012 NFL Free Agency frenzy, but Bill Belichick and company tend to make their mark during the draft. In addition, the team has worked well behind-the-scenes on the open market.  Quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract last week to provide the Patriots with more than $7 million in extra room for the 2012 season. Brian McIntyre reports that Brady converted $4.8 million of his base salary, as well as $6.25 million of other bonuses into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the last three years of Brady’s deal.  His cap number dropped from $15.2 million to $8 million for the upcoming season, but climbed to $21.8 million for 2013 and 2014. The Pats weren’t at all cap-strapped prior to restructuring Brady’s contract, but the decision certainly hasn’t hurt, as the team has recently loaded up on quality free agents, including guard Robert Gallery and wide receivers Donte’ Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez and Brand...
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