Money

NFL's Tom Brady is now one of the highest-paid players to appear on the Madden video game cover

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston last February.
Robert Deutsch | USA Today Sports | Reuters
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston last February.

Good things come to those who wait. And New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has waited 17 years to be featured on the cover of the American football video game series Madden NFL.

The game, "Madden NFL 18," makes its debut Friday, August 25.

Brady, the two-time AP NFL Most Valuable Player award winner who is the game's cover athlete, is statistically one of the best quarterbacks in the league. As such, he's one of the highest paid players in NFL history.

In fact, Forbes reports Brady's 2016 overall earnings at $44.1 million, the 15th highest-paid athlete in the world last year.

Brady, however, wasn't always so well-known. Of the 254 players selected in the 2000 NFL Draft, he was taken 199th by the Patriots and signed a contract worth $193,000 in guaranteed earnings. He went on to win the franchise's first Super Bowl in 2002.

His contract now: A two-year deal worth $41 million, including a $28 million signing bonus and an average yearly salary of $20.5 million, according to the sports contracts and salaries website Spotrac.

Forbes reports Brady has also made $8 million in endorsement deals.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium.
Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium.

While many sports gamers are looking forward to another season on the controls, some players may be looking over their shoulders because of the "Madden curse."

The suspicion is that players featured on the game's cover experience some sort of injury or athletic adversity in the coming season. Brady's teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski, suffered a back injury after being featured on the cover last year.

Position: Tight End, New England Patriots 2011 salary: $450,000 Weekly paycheck: $26,741 Gronkowski is an absolute machine, moving his 6-foot-6, 265-pound body with ridiculous agility. In the last four games, against the Cowboys, Steelers, Giants and Jets, Gronkowski has caught at least seven passes and has averaged 95.5 yards a game. Gronkowski got a $1.76 million signing bonus and a $830,000 playing time bonus, but he's still making the $450,000 minimum salary.
Photo: Getty Images
Position: Tight End, New England Patriots 2011 salary: $450,000 Weekly paycheck: $26,741 Gronkowski is an absolute machine, moving his 6-foot-6, 265-pound body with ridiculous agility. In the last four games, against the Cowboys, Steelers, Giants and Jets, Gronkowski has caught at least seven passes and has averaged 95.5 yards a game. Gronkowski got a $1.76 million signing bonus and a $830,000 playing time bonus, but he's still making the $450,000 minimum salary.

In a May 12 video, Brady said, "The Madden NFL 18 cover is a great honor for me … I'm not one to believe in curses, so I'm ready to take the challenge head-on like always! It doesn't stand a chance!!!"

If the curse did stand a chance, though, Brady has probably made enough money over the course of his career to hold him over for a while.

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