Analysis Opinion

Is Tom Brady still a top 10 quarterback in the NFL?

Tom Brady has been one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two decades. He has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. Brady has also amassed four Super Bowl MVP’s in that time. He also has the stats to go along with all the trophies. He is second in passing yards, second in touchdowns, and fifth in passer rating all-time. There is no doubt he will be a first ballet hall-of-famer. However, in the year 2020, he is no longer a top 10 quarterback.

I have a full ranking of the 32 quarterbacks in the NFL (before the Cam Newton signing with the Patriots) in one of my Power Rankings Digest articles. In that article (which you should definitely read), I have Brady as the 13th best QB going into 2020.

There are a multitude of factors for this ranking. There are a lot of good quarterbacks in the NFL right now, for one. The other thing is Brady is starting to show his age. Brady is 42 years old and has played in the NFL for 20 years. It is a remarkable accomplishment, but there has to be a time where your body is starting to limit your abilities.

According to Football Outsiders, Brady is the 16th ranked quarterback using their DYAR or defense-adjusted value over average. Per the Football Outsiders website, DYAR, “gives the value of the quarterback’s performance compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage.”

The top five in this category are Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Lamar Jackson.

Other advanced stats have Brady as a middling to below average quarterback. In 2019 he ranked 18th in EPA/Play. EPA is the measure of a play’s impact on the score of the game. Again, for perspective the top five in this category were Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Tannehill (I know, right?), Drew Brees, and Matt Stafford.

Additionally, if you look at some of the biggest games the Patriots played in last year, he played very poorly. Against Kansas City he went 19-36 for 169 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Against Tennessee in the playoffs he went 20-37 for 209 yards with 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. In those games the Patriots scored 16 and 13 points respectively.

Now, in Brady’s defense, he was not playing with the ultimate supporting cast. You could see the frustration and lack of trust Brady had with his wide receivers not named Julian Edelman as well.

Dan Orlovsky of ESPN pointed out a play on Twitter where Brady clearly audibles to the WR to run a pump and go and he doesn’t and then Brady is on the bench looking at the play with offensive coordinator and is clearly upset.

Brady has moved on to Tampa Bay and he will have arguably his second best supporting cast ever. This will be right behind the year he and Randy Moss set the league on fire.

Chris Godwin is a more athletic version of Julian Edelman and should have a monster year in this offense with Brady. You can check out where I ranked him in my top 25 fantasy WR rankings in another Power Rankings Digest article.

Mike Evans is a stud and serious deep threat. He may be the weapon hurt the most from moving on from Jameis Winston. Brady won’t just throw it up to Evans as much as Winston did last year. However, he will still be able to take those selective shots to a proven downfield threat.

I think Brady can still be an efficient player with the supporting cast he has in Tampa. I don’t think he will ever be what he once was, but he will be good enough to have that team in contention in the NFC. The numbers point to him being a middling QB, but I wouldn’t bet against Brady. He is the ultimate competitor and finally is playing with premium weapons once again.

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