Tom Brady’s post-Patriots success proves the value of deference to great quarterbacks

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For years, NFL teams have treated quarterbacks like employees, even when expecting quarterbacks to behave like quasi-members of management.

Tom Brady‘s instant success with the Buccaneers should cause teams with truly great quarterbacks to seriously reconsider that approach.

Although Brady blazed the trail by beating a path out of New England, other quarterbacks can get to the same place without leaving where they currently are. With the salary cap expected to drop from $198.2 million in 2020 to roughly $180 million in 2021, capable veterans will lose their roster spots. Skilled free agents will not receive the kind of offers they expect.

If players in a depressed market will be forced to take whatever they can get, why not get it from a great team? Specifically, why not choose to play for a competitive team with a great quarterback?

Teams with great quarterbacks but average supporting casts will need to be ready to make their moves. Brady compelled the Buccaneers to do it in a year with a normal salary cap. Veterans who face a season with dramatically reduced revenue and unexpected availability on the open market easily could gravitate to teams like Tampa Bay. Or Green Bay. Or Seattle. Or Kansas City.

If 2020 marked the dawn of the quarterback-engineered Superteam and if 2021 sees that concept blossom, there can only be so many of them. And the teams that will have the best chance to become truly super are the teams with the true franchise quarterbacks who already have shown that they can climb the mountain: The Buccaneers, the Packers, the Seahawks, and the Chiefs.

Added to that list, possibly, will be wherever Deshaun Watson lands in 2021 — if he indeed gets out of Houston.

Regardless, Brady has proven that a great quarterback can (and should) have as much or more internal juice than a coach or a G.M. A great quarterback can create an atmosphere of deference to the quarterback, where those running the team realize that only good things flow from giving a truly great quarterback what he needs to chase a championship. And then the powers-that-be wisely will understand that, despite outdated notions that quarterbacks should shut up and play, the smart move will be to cater to the great quarterback, giving him what he wants and letting him do his thing.

In one season, the Buccaneers proved the value of that approach by winning the Super Bowl. Other teams fortunate enough to have true franchise quarterbacks would be wise to consider doing the same thing, especially with so many potentially affordable free agents poised to land on the open market.

62 responses to “Tom Brady’s post-Patriots success proves the value of deference to great quarterbacks

  1. Or last night proves a dominant D-line will always keep you in the game and give you the flexibility to drop 7 into coverage.

  2. Actual evidence of the importance of getting rid of dead weight….
    NOT wasting YEARS with a mediocre to average qb (Winston) and losing good players to other teams doing it!

  3. It’s a tough balance. Brady became Brady because he never pushed for the mega-contract with the Pats, allowing them to build a roster of just the right players for the right job. Once a QB gets to the mega-contract stage, everything gets harder.

    The problem is knowing which QBs are worth deferring to. Everyone talks about Watson, but do you think Brady goes 4-12 on any team? Do you pay Prescott mega-bucks when he’s only won 1 playoff game?

    The guys to defer to are Brady, Mahomes, Wilson, and Rodgers. Everyone else is a “maybe”.

  4. Brady is in a class by himself. Not all “great quarterbacks” are created the same.

    All this talk about Brady & weapons ignores the fact that Gronk, Antonio Brown & Lawrence Fournette were essentially out of the league when Brady urged them to join him for peanuts.

    I’m willing to be that Brady could have taken the Packers, Browns (and a few other teams that didn’t make it) to the SB.

  5. You say all that, but decline to mention one important fact that has been constant with Brady….His taking significantly less himself, to give the team flexibility to have great players around him….which is why he left the Patriots….because he was giving up money and they refused to put it to good use.

    Deshaun also took a huge payday AFTER the Texans got rid of his top target…..now that very contract will make it difficult for him to get out of there.

    I think no Qb should get more than 30 mil/per year….Brady now has 7 rings, but none of the media dares write about the one thing he’s done to achieve that…..team friendly contracts.

  6. Tom Brady has spent his entire career NOT demanding bank breaking contracts, allowing his teams to have major flexibility when it comes to the roster. His situation is not even tangentially related to Watson. This is why he commands the respect of ownership and management. Oh and the constant winning part

  7. Because of how QBs are protected, good ones can play now for 15-20 years.

    If you get that big contract in year 4 you are looking at 12-16 years of 30 mil….thst’s not enough?

    Instead they are greedy at the negotiating table…..then get annoyed when the pieces around them leave, because THEY are not protected and THEIR window is 5-7 years.

  8. I was wrong about TB.

    GOAT.

    I still think Dan Marino would have eclipsed all these guys had he played today.

  9. As great as Brady IS…in his last two Super Bowls his defenses have given up a total of 12 points. Let that sink in. TEN POINTS was enough to beat his opposition in his last two Super Bowl games.

    Shout out to Brian Flores and Todd Bowles.

  10. Let’s not forget that Brady is Brady because of the way he elevates those around him at this point in his career. Many great QB’s don’t even get to multiple Super Bowls, let alone win multiple, because the journey is so difficult. Brady is just Brady and comparisons are nearly impossible.

  11. One of these things is not like the other. Wilson, Rodgers, Mahommes and Brady are WINNERS. Deshaun is not.

  12. In response to several posts above, it’s still mind boggling that Brady was only paid $25 million this year while several other much lesser talents were paid lots more.

    And just heard this morning that only two teams showed interest when Brady was on the market for nothing but a contract — Chargers & Buccaneers. Imagine, teams didn’t have to mortgage their future to get Brady & still sat on their hands. No back-breaking multi-zillion dollar contracts or draft picks galore.

    Can’t wait until the new show. No longer the Brady-6 (QBs drafted before him). Now it will be “the Brady-29” looking at the 29 teams that passed up the chance to get Brady and where they are now.

    Just goes to show that there are a lot of very bad GMs/Coaches/Owners out there.

  13. Brady and Rodgers. That’s the list of active QBs that I would entrust with franchise decisions. Brady because of his track record and Rodgers because of his talent. Both because of their experience. Brees is experienced but no longer has the ability. Mahomes has the ability but isn’t quite there yet.

  14. The problem is, every QB thinks they’re great after a good season or two. There has only been one Brady.

  15. Remember when Brady threw 17 interceptions and his defense solely won the super bowl for him? Me neither. That’s what happened to Peyton Manning. Brady had 40 touchdown passes in the regular season, 3 rushing touchdowns, and he has now thrown like 21 touchdown passes in the super bowl.

  16. This is not a new concept. How about when Manning went to Denver? They basically let him do whatever he wanted, they gave him what he needed, let him run the offensive scheme, and they won a Super Bowl because of his presence there. Went to 2 actually, but ran into the Seahawks defense which was really good.
    Speaking of which, once again last night, a great defense almost always beats a great offense. Just sayin’

  17. If Giselle Budchen wasn’t Giselle Budchen would Tom Brady take a pay cut? Maybe. Who knows the mind of a champion

  18. I agree with this article elite franchise quarterbacks should be treated with extreme respect or treated differently. In my opinion cutting Antonio Brown after 11 days in New England due to a rape allegation was premature. Moreover Brady was pissed at the release of his best receiver without due process. It really irritated Brady more than he has publicly stated. When Brown is in the game playing for Tampa Bay he requires a lot of double coverage. Allowing for less coverage on the Buccaneers other top receivers. Antonio Brown deserved due process while playing for the Patriots even with his bad reputation. He was and still is the favorite receiver of Tom Brady!

  19. This guy has won 7 Super Bowls and played in 10. And, he only finished 1 game short of reaching the SB in 4 other seasons. Three of those AFC title game losses were to his greatest rival, Peyton Manning, who ironically just received his invite to the Hall of Fame.

    Peyton was 3-1 against Brady in AFC conference title games during the “prime years” of Brady’s career. I think that’s actually an overlooked partof Manning’s greatness. If it weren’t for Manning, Brady would’ve played in 13 Super Bowls and possibly have 10 rings!

  20. There’s only one Tom Brady. Don’t think what you’re seeing out of Brady would apply to anyone else. Not even close. Tampa Bay wouldn’t have sniffed the super bowl with any other QB. What we saw on the field was only part of it. Brady motivates his teammates like no other QB can. Perhaps if there’s another guy out there with 6 rings, but I don’t see that guy.

  21. As great as Brady IS…in his last two Super Bowls his defenses have given up a total of 12 points. Let that sink in. TEN POINTS was enough to beat his opposition in his last two Super Bowl games.

    Shout out to Brian Flores and Todd Bowles.
    ‐_________________________________

    Exactly. Yet the highest paid non qb in the league is
    Hopkins at 54.5 mil over two years.

    You telling me that Mahomes, Rodgers Watson etc are worth twice as much as everyone else on their team?

    Yet all of them….save for Mahomes, but give it time….is complaining about the pueces on their team…..hellooooo?

    And to anyone complaining that making 5 mil more than other positions is not much for a QB….really? How close are you in quality of life to someone making 5 mil more per year than you?

    The people pushing fir these contracts are agents….simple as that.

  22. It seems that the Glazers and Arians understand that concept. Arians has always been the first to admit Bradys impact on the team, including his role in bringing in key free agents, calling plays and teaching the team how to win, and I respect Arians greatly for that, a lot of coaches would be too power hungry or insecure to admit those things.

  23. A very very short list of guys might qualify for this but it’s 3-4 max IMO. Brees this and last year would not despite resume. Same with Big Ben, possibly not Wilson.
    Brady, Mahommes, Rogers. And guys may play in a depressed market for the cheap out of necessity for one year. But there is not the ridiculous long term earnings like basketball, or baseball so I can’t see year after year guys leaving money on the table accept at the very end of the career or because an incident has lowered their leverage.

  24. This is typical the players got the power again article, just another version. The truly great QB at the end of their career are going to go to talented teams with good coaching that need a QB. The Tom Brady’s’ and Payton Manning’s of the world can do that, the lesser extends of the QB’s of today can do it , you know like Watson is doing and picking the Jet’s, just subtract the part about having a talented roster and good coaching. I guess maybe Watson needs to mature and grow some because he might then pick a team with good talent and coaching.

  25. It’s why people kill me saying Watson is going to make the NFL like the NBA. Brady already did it.

  26. I get it. Tom Brady is definitely a G.O.A.T. But this wasn’t a case of Tom Brady being 31-9 better than Patrick Mahommes. This was an incredible Tampa Bay defense coached by an incredible game plan to lock down a high powered Kansas City offense.

    Don’t tell me Kansas City couldn’t score a touchdown because Tom Brady is better. I’m just saying, let’s understand, to win the Super Bowl, you need to both score points and prevent them. This was a Tampa Bay win, not a tom Brady win.

  27. But there is not the ridiculous long term earnings like basketball, or baseball so I can’t see year after year guys leaving money on the table.
    ________________________________

    How many players in other Leagues are playing more than 20 years?

    The QB position has shown longevity on par with the other Leagues….yet, not one of them has shown they can win consistently without talent around them.

    The other position players are the ones with relatively short careers and getting less of the money in a cap league because the argument can be made in the contract room for a QB easier than a left tackle.

    The NFLPA are the ones needing to come up with a plan that fairly compensates all their members.

    Then they can start talking fully guaranteed contracts….at least for the top players and positions.

  28. Why do you suggest other teams copy this? It is a copy cat league and usually the copies fail. Teams need to figure out their own formula for success, not replicate what worked somewhere else.

  29. No, it proves a great d-line that can pressure the qb, especially with the opposing o-line composed of back ups. Also, best receiving corps in NFL. Brady is great, but he’s been VERY fortunate. Plus, he has the “Brady Rule” going for him. Any play that makes Brady look bad gets a penalty.

  30. rohanz2000 says:
    “If Giselle Budchen wasn’t Giselle Budchen would Tom Brady take a pay cut? Maybe. Who knows the mind of a champion”

    – – – – –

    Brady was taking team friendly contracts BEFORE he even met Gisele.

  31. “I think no Qb should get more than 30 mil/per year….Brady now has 7 rings, but none of the media dares write about the one thing he’s done to achieve that…..team friendly contracts.”
    —-

    Here’s the ironic thing in your post…I don’t think Brady has ever even reached $30 million per year.

    QB is definitely the most important position in football. But man, can you really afford to pay one guy anywhere from 30-40 million per on a 52 man roster with a salary cap below $200 million?

    If I owned a team I’d be the least popular owner in the league when it came to QB salaries. If an agent walks in touting his guy and arguing for a record breaking deal I’d tell him upfront “I’m not paying any QB more than the best QB in the game (Brady) is making”. If every owner did that I think these QB salaries would return to earth very quickly.

  32. Don’t tell me Kansas City couldn’t score a touchdown because Tom Brady is better. I’m just saying, let’s understand, to win the Super Bowl, you need to both score points and prevent them. This was a Tampa Bay win, not a tom Brady win

    —-
    Sure.

    I’ll bet with Jameis Winston, they would have made the playoffs, won 3 road games (2 over legends) and upset the Chiefs just the same.

    C’mon. Crazy.

  33. Some these elite QBs are surrounded with good players. But just what Arians said, his team had a lot of great players but didn’t know how to win. Brady won SBs with whatever scraps Belichick provided for him. First find a good QB who knows how to win. Beat of luck..

  34. You can’t make this argument without acknowledging the fact that Brady didn’t demand a huge, cap-busting contract. How many great players get added around him if his contract pays him $40 million/yr instead of the $25 million/yr he accepted?

  35. realfootballfan says:

    February 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm
    It’s why people kill me saying Watson is going to make the NFL like the NBA. Brady already did it.

    Not quite. Brady was a free agent when he went to Tampa Bay. He had played out his 1-year contract & GM Belichick didn’t offer him a new one.

    Peyton was in a similar situation when he went to Denver. He was a free agent. The Colts had decided they were going to ride it out with Andrew Luck after Peyton’s neck surgery.

  36. It proves that Bill Belichick was stupid for letting Tom walk out the door.
    No matter how much everyone thinks he’s a “genius”.

  37. scnfl says:
    February 8, 2021 at 11:43 am
    Peyton was 3-1 against Brady in AFC conference title games during the “prime years” of Brady’s career. I think that’s actually an overlooked part of Manning’s greatness.
    ————————————————————————————
    Sometimes one team just matches up well to another team. The Chargers with Philip Rivers gave Manning and the Colts no end of trouble, including knocking them out of the playoffs twice. During that same time span, they could never do anything against Brady and the Patriots including a pair of playoff losses.

  38. Tom Brady is in a class by himself. changing the rules for him is not a one size fits all model.

  39. It’s not Deshaun Watson. It’s not Dak Prescott. It is Tom Brady. Don’t try to make rules out of one extraordinary QB. The remainders fall short. But keep talking up how Dak should get $37+ and field a team. How much did Brady cost? That should be your celing

  40. I keep hearing comments about Brady leaving money on the table to pay other players and other QBs not doing so. Can we just admit that Brady is the only QB in the NFL who had a wife that makes more than he does. Money a’int his problem,

  41. Let’s not forget that a dominant DL played a pretty significant role in Tampa’s SB run this year. Due respect to the GOAT, but without that D, he doesn’t get the 7th ring.

  42. ….
    except that team is stacked with top offensive players and defensive lineman.
    They were losing because the old QB was giving the ball back 35+ times a year
    a normal QB would have taken that team to a SB.

  43. When Tom Brady joined the Bucs, I figured he was angling for a huge, career-twilight payday and to enjoy Florida. Turns out, he’s still Tom Brady and wants to win Super Bowls.

    The problem with projecting Brady’s success with that across the league as a whole is that most players have no business making the business decisions. But if the power exists, they (or their agents) will demand it.

    And it will trickle into the draft: How long before a thirsty owner gets the hots for a QB prospect and promises the kid a veto over personnel so he doesn’t pull an Eli?

    It may happen, but dollars to donuts it will swing back to being a rare thing.

  44. The only problem with the article is Brady went to a team laden with talent but no quarterback and brought a few friends with him. The Packers never really were able to lure top free agents because they expected to get paid with money. SB rings are great but big paychecks are what take care of you once your game is over.
    I still see the best free agents holding out fo money not to mention, teams without the Rodgers and Wilsons have big money to pony up to the bar for. The packers will be cutting talent in two weeks because they gave all the money to Rodgers.

  45. There might be 3 great QBs in the league. Great, not very good. Brady, Mahomes, and Rodgers. Mighty small subset of QBs. Brees previously and Manning. That’s about it.

  46. There is only 1 Tom Brady and he is the only QB that could have pulled this off. His talent, work ethic, leadership, drive, intelligence is unmatched. There is no other QB that could have accomplished this. It is a treat to be able to watch his excellence and a gift to watch him play

  47. I don’t know if Brady is the greatest QB of all time, but he’s certainly the luckiest.

    Even average QB’s could have won against the Rams and Chiefs if their defenses held their opponents out of the end zone. The Seahawks basically handed him another win.

    Meanwhile, people are now saying that Belichick, with EIGHT rings to his credit as HC and DC, suddenly doesn’t know how to coach because after nearly 20 years of playoff appearances he finally has a rebuilding year, one where eight of his players opted out due to COVID. Meanwhile, he’s cleared out a ton of cap space for the future.

    I’m not a Patriots fan, but anybody who thinks they won’t be back very soon will be eating crow.

  48. I enjoy seeing quarterbacks demand, hold our for, or otherwise get top dollar in salaries, as doing so gives me a bunch of teams having highly paid qbs to root against. Football is suppose to be a team sport; with the NFL’s salary cap, I assume the highest paid quarterbacks (along with the agents and media members who encourage the moneygrubbing) are not very interested in the qbs being on teams having good, but more expensive than others, players (those good players can be OL, receivers, defense, or special teams).
    I defer judgement on the Mahomes contract, because I do not understand its various conditions.
    Will be interesting to see if the newer crop of decent to good qbs on rookie contracts will be more interested in acquiring a high salary or a good team.

  49. and to think 10 years ago some people were seriously suggesting that manning was brady’s peer!?

  50. The only problem with the article is Brady went to a team laden with talent but no quarterback and brought a few friends with him.
    ______________________________________________________________
    What friends Gronk? How much did Gronk do to get the team there? AB? What did he do? Fournette?

    Take away the three td’s they scored and insert three field goals and you still win the game by 10.

    Brady showed the team what they could do if they played all out and showed confidence that they were better, that happened in Washington New Orleans and GB…..By the time the team returned to Tampa for the Superbowl they were believers….

  51. After the Super Blunder, Marshawn Lynch said it all:
    “FOOTBALL IS A TEAM SPORT.”

    Would Otto Graham have won 7 championships in 10 years without Paul Brown? Probably not. Likewise, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were part of a team that was greater than the sum of its parts.

    In my opinion, Bruce Arians deserves more, not all, of the credit for this season’s success. Tom Brady was smart enough to choose Arian’s team. Brady would not have gone to the Super Bowl with Pete Carroll, who is stuck playing Bud Grant strategy football.

    This hypothesis is supported by the fact that only Brady and P. Manning have won the big show with different teams. Not even Joe Montana with Marcus Allen could carry the Cheifs.

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