The Athletic recently conducted a survey involving 30 anonymous NFL agents, with questions touching on various topics, including the league’s offseason, COVID-19 and the ongoing fight for racial equality.
One question posed: From your agent perspective, what was the most interesting or surprising contract signed in free agency?
The most common answer, according to The Athletic, pointed to Jameis Winston, who signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal to back up Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints. But Tom Brady’s decision to leave the New England Patriots in favor of signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also sparked some conversation, as you could imagine.
One agent offered a rather dramatic breakdown of Brady’s two-year contract with the Bucs, suggesting the fallout of the deal is unlike anything the NFL ever has seen.
“I guess for me, it’s the same one everybody’s going to talk about. Not because the contract was so monumental, just that there’s been a seismic shift with (Brady),” the agent told The Athletic. “And all of a sudden, the Buccaneers are good, and the Patriots are bad. And I don’t know that any single player ever had that dramatic impact in free agency. Now, we have to play the game still, of course. But one downtrodden franchise is among the best on paper and the other historically, fantastic dynasty franchise on a 20-year run has all of a sudden gotten pretty mediocre. Now, there’s more to it than just that. But it was Tom that instigated the whole thing.”
It was explained at the beginning of the piece that the bulk of the surveys were conducted between June 15 and June 30, so it’s unclear whether the agent assessed the situation before or after New England landed quarterback Cam Newton, who agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract on June 28. But he or she sure is high on the Buccaneers and low on the Patriots in wake of Brady’s move down to Central Florida.
Obviously, the agent isn’t alone. While the Buccaneers, who also landed Rob Gronkowski, thrust themselves into the Super Bowl discussion with their splashy offseason, the Patriots are somewhat of a wild card, even after bringing in Newton to presumably replace Brady as their starting quarterback.
So, did the entire landscape of the NFL really change when Brady departed Foxboro? Maybe, although it’s important to keep in mind Brady is entering his age-43 season after an underwhelming 2019. The Bucs hype ultimately might look a little over the top in hindsight.
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