Tom Brady and the Patriots have agreed to restructure $24 million in guaranteed base salary through 2017. (NFL Game Rewind)

Tom Brady and the Patriots have restructured the quarterback’s guaranteed base salary through 2017. (NFL Game Rewind)

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Tom Brady has restructured his contract with the New England Patriots, freeing $24 million for the team to spend in free agency this winter.

Last year, the Patriots quarterback signed a five-year extension through 2017, with $7 million, $8 million and $9 million guaranteed for injury over the next three seasons. By being on the 53-man roster on Saturday at 4 p.m., those earnings became fully guaranteed over that span. Yet by restructuring, the 37-year-old Brady has agreed to turn those $24 million from a skill guarantee back to an injury guarantee, signifying that those base salaries would only be assured if injured.

The team has also added $1 million in base salaries for each of those three seasons, per Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.

Though those changes to Brady’s contract do not change the Patriots’ salary cap, they have now afforded New England the flexibility to re-sign upcoming free agents this offseason, including cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Devin McCourty.

And as Miguel Benzan of @PatsCap and PatsCap.com notes, changing from a fully guaranteed contract to injury-only now allows the Patriots to avoid placing $24 million into escrow to cover Brady’s salaries.

Brady went 373-of-582 passing for 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions over 16 starts for the Patriots this season.