This hasn’t been Tom Brady’s best season by any stretch of the imagination.

While one can argue the Patriots’ leaky offensive line and dearth of weapons are most responsible for New England’s recent struggles to move the football, the quarterback still deserves some blame for performing at a level far below his career norms.

But where do we draw the line? When does fair criticism become blatant disrespect for all that Brady has accomplished?

It’s a question many pundits are wrestling with this season as they attempt to accurately evaluate Brady’s performance. Marcellus Wiley, for one, has no problem putting Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of his former Patriots teammate despite the San Francisco 49ers quarterback battling his own inconsistency in 2019.

“(Garoppolo) is not Tom Brady. Not only is he better than him now. But he was better than Tom Brady in the first 20 games played,” Wiley, a former Pro Bowl defensive end, declared Thursday on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself,” before then citing several offensive statistics that favor the beginning of Garoppolo’s career over the beginning of Brady’s career.

Hear more in the video below.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, a former NFL wide receiver-turned-analyst, was quick to point out how the game has evolved from Brady’s first season as New England’s starter in 2001 to Garoppolo’s first full season as San Francisco’s starter in 2019. The league has become much more pass-heavy, and several rule changes have contributed to inflated quarterback numbers in recent years.

Wiley’s overriding point, however, magnifies that Brady, at age 42, is more of a game-manager — like he was during his rookie season — than a defense-shredding MVP candidate. Whether that makes Garoppolo and others “better” than Brady right now certainly is debatable.

Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images