The eyes of the football world are all on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. If the Patriots don’t move fast and re-sign him, Brady could become a free agent. Is it smart for them to move on?
And even if that’s true, does the future Hall of Famer deserve more respect from the New England Patriots? Let’s dive into whether Brady should get a new deal from the only team he’s ever known.
Tom Brady’s NFL career
Brady started his career humbly, as a sixth-round draft pick in 2000. The Patriots expected Tom Brady to be a career backup, nothing more. When incumbent starter Drew Bledsoe was injured part of the way through Brady’s second season, it gave him an opportunity to seize the starting job. He did, and he and the Pats made history.
Brady has won six Super Bowl championships under center for New England. That’s more than any quarterback in NFL history. He’s also done so playing great football. But all good things must come to an end, and this season provided proof that the end may be coming sooner rather than later.
2019 season overview
While the Patriots finished the season in first place in the AFC East, they weren’t their usual selves. Neither was Brady. Brady often seemed frustrated by the offense’s lack of production, claiming that the Patriots’ defense and special teams were their strong suits. When asked why he was so critical, Brady did not hold back:
“I have a job to do…I think my job, it’s very important to me. I want us to do as best we possibly can each week, like I always have. Everybody puts a lot into it and you want to see a great performance.
When it’s less than that, I don’t know what I should feel other than what is authentic to me and what is authentic to my own personal feelings and beliefs about how we should be performing and what we need to do in order to do better.”
Needing a week 17 victory to clinch a first-round bye, the Pats fell to the hapless Miami Dolphins. They were then shocked by the Tennessee Titans and Derrick Henry in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
Brady entered the offseason with a lot of question marks. He’s not performing as well as he had in the past. He’s also 43 years old. It wouldn’t be surprising from the Patriots to move on from a player that old. But does he deserve more than that from them?
Does Tom Brady deserve more respect from the New England Patriots?
On the surface, this appears to be an easy decision: the Patriots should honor their longtime leader with one more contract and one more chance to chase a championship ring. But when it comes to head coach Bill Belichick, you can throw all conventional thinking out the window.
Belichick is famous for discarding players before they’ve outstayed their welcome when he no longer found them useful. For example, look at the case of former Patriots’ safety and team captain Lawyer Milloy.
Milloy was an unquestioned leader of the Patriots defense in the ’90s and early 2000s. Even with that in mind, Belichick cut him prior to the 2003 season. It was a difficult decision, but Belichick did it because Milloy refused to take a pay cut.
Brady obviously has a lot more history with the team than even a player as accomplished as Milloy did at the time. But it speaks to Belichick’s attitude. If he thinks the team can upgrade at quarterback, he’ll make the move.
There’s no question that Tom Brady deserves the Patriots’ respect, especially after he’s taken less money than he could have earned on the open market. But Brady has declined in recent years. At what point do the Patriots cut their losses and look to the future?
The Patriots owe respect to Brady, but respect can be paid in many ways. It could mean honoring him in the team’s Hall of Fame one day. The Patriots owe it to their team and their fans to put the best possible team on the field. If that includes Brady, so be it, and Belichick will bring him back. If Belichick thinks he can do better, he’ll let Brady walk.