Tom Brady says he still has more to prove, so let’s dig into the pros and cons of him staying in New England.
Since the New England Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round on Saturday evening, speculation has swirled around Tom Brady and the possibility of retirement. But immediately after the game, Brady said it was “probably unlikely” that he would retire. And on Wednesday, the 42-year-old quarterback confirmed his commitment to staying in the league on Instagram, saying “I know I still have more to prove.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his hope that Brady will stay in New England if he doesn’t retire. And while Head Coach Bill Belichick has been non-committal about Brady’s status with the team, it seems unlikely that the Patriots’ quarterback of 20 years would go anywhere else. Brady is still a great quarterback, but he isn’t the superhuman legend we’ve seen in years past. What are the pros and cons of him staying in New England?
There are many benefits to Tom Brady staying in New England. Mainly, it maintains the familiar team leadership of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady. This trio has accomplished so much in the last 20 years, creating arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history and leading the team to six Super Bowl titles. For Brady, staying in New England means working with people he has known his entire career and has accomplished great successes with. Even as Brady’s skill level declines in the next few years, the Patriots care about him and will do whatever it takes to help him succeed.
There was a lot of talk this year about the decline of Brady’s talent. And while it is true that Brady wasn’t as good in 2019-2020 as he has been in past seasons, Brady still finished the year as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He threw for over 4,000 yards in the regular season, including 24 touchdowns. The Patriots offense had 11 games where they scored 20 or more points. And it’s important to remember that many of the problems the Patriots had this year weren’t Brady’s fault.
But there are some downsides to Brady staying in New England. This season was the first time the Patriots have failed to qualify for at least the Divisional Round of the playoffs in over a decade. And while Brady wasn’t entirely to blame for that, we did witness a deterioration in his skill level. At 42-years-old, he simply can’t do the things that he once did. And that’s only going to get worse in future years.
The Patriots haven’t had to think about a new quarterback in 20 years, but Brady isn’t the team’s future. Even if he continues playing, he probably has a maximum of 3-4 years left in his career. And the quarterback position is changing. If you look at the top AFC quarterbacks this year– Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)– their style of offense looks nothing like that of Tom Brady. As more and more players become comfortable in this offense, Brady’s style of play becomes more and more dated.
Regardless of playing style, the Patriots will need to invest in a new quarterback soon. The longer they hold onto Brady, the further they delay that investment.
So, Brady didn’t have the best season in 2019-2020. But if there is one thing we know about Brady, it’s that he always manages to prove the haters wrong. He’ll be back in 2020. And usually, that means good things for the New England Patriots.