When recently asked whether he believes he’s appreciated by the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady led with “I plead the fifth” and followed with a non-answer. So if there’s an issue with the extent to which Brady feels appreciated, what better what to show him appreciation than to give him more money?
Consider the broader context of Brady’s last new contract, from April 2016. The deal pushed his annual average to $20.5 million, at a time when the highest-paid player at the position (Joe Flacco) was making $22.133 million per year. Since Brady signed his latest deal, a rash of younger and far less accomplished quarterbacks have pushed the bar higher and higher, from Andrew Luck ($24.5 million) to Derek Carr ($25 million) to Matthew Stafford ($27 million) to Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million) to Kirk Cousins ($28 million) to Matt Ryan ($30 million in new money; $28.2 million in total average value at signing).
At least Flacco had a Super Bowl win. Luck, Carr, Stafford, Garoppolo, Cousins, and Ryan have one Super Bowl appearance among them. Four of them (Carr, Stafford, Garoppolo, Cousins) don’t even have a single postseason win.
So maybe the time has indeed come to show Brady the most tangible appreciation possible, especially since the greatest quarterback in league history currently is sitting at 68.3 percent of the top of the new-money market. This doesn’t mean Brady should be paid $30.1 million per year, but it does mean that he’s not just below market. He’s now dramatically below market.
Considering that Brady surely is getting relentless (and understandable) nudging from his wife to walk away from the game while he still can, a contract that puts him closer in line with quarterbacks who fall far behind him on the ability scale would give him a way to push back against one of the go-to arguments that Mrs. Brady surely is making regarding whether he’s truly appreciated for the benefits he provides and the sacrifices he makes.