For Parrot: What do you think about this column about Tom Brady?

We have discussed Brady before, so I wonder what you thought of this.

This guy used to work in the front office of the Green Bay Packers and is familiar with financial issues in the NFL, so I admittedly tread lightly when I say that I don’t think he knows what he is talking about here.

• He wanted to win, and allowed the Patriots to spend around him. No. This requires an understanding of “cap vs. cash.” All elite quarterbacks are willing to take less cap to allow the team to have short-term cap room, restructuring to push out cap proration into later years, and Brady did in both New England and in Tampa. But here is the difference: Not only did Brady sacrifice Cap, but he also took less cash! No other elite quarterback has done that. That doesn’t help the team around him as much as it helps ownership, as it simply lowered the Krafts’ labor expense every year.

He conveniently overlooks the fact that all of those other elite quarterbacks who took less “cap” but not less cash didn’t win anywhere near the number of Super Bowls as Brady. By taking less cash himself Brady allowed the Patriots to spend money on other players while helping the Patriots avoid salary cap crunches like Green Bay and New Orleans got stuck in when they paid Rodgers and Brees big-time.

Not parrot, but Brady’s net worth is estimated at $250 million and his wife’s separate net worth at $400 million. So, he’s not worried about money. Maybe he just wanted to win.

Good point. It is not as if Brady was in the poor house all of those years.

Andrew Brandt writes a lot of good columns and has good insights, but when it comes to the salary cap I think he is off-base a lot.

Another point that he made that should get some scrutiny:

From the time Brady started making “real money” until the end of his Patriots tenure—a sixteen-season span ranging from 2004–19—Brady had career earnings of $241 million, an average per year (APY) of roughly $15 million.

Let’s contrast that number with two quarterbacks who have been very much in the news lately.

Putting aside his (massive) rookie contract, Matthew Stafford played another eight seasons with the Lions, from 2013–20. His eight-year earnings there were $188 million, an APY of $23.5 million.

Aaron Rodgers will have played fourteen seasons (2009–22) of post-rookie contract earnings after the upcoming season. Even assuming his contract is not upgraded for the coming season—which it will be by the Packers or another team—his earnings will be just under $300 million, an APY of over $21 million.

These are just two examples of many similarly situated players that have consistently outpaced Brady in NFL contract earnings, by margins of over $8 million and $6 million, respectively, per year!

To state the obvious, if you start with 2004 when calculating Brady’s average annual salary compared to 2009 with Rodgers and 2013 for Stafford, of course Brady’s average will be lower. The salary cap was much lower in those earlier years not figured into the other two quarterbacks’ annual averages. You would have to look at the same time periods for each one for a better comparison. I think Brandt knows this, but it doesn’t fit with his point so he doesn’t say it.

I bet that if you did compare the average annual salaries for the same time periods Brady’s would be lower but not by as much as Brandt shows here.

I read the article before reading this and thought the exact same thing.
Spot on. You can trade “cash for cap” for a few years, but it will catch up.

My dream job for my son is to be the salary cap guy for an NFL team.

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Did you get him a copy of Moneyball? (I know, different sport, but some of the same rules apply.)

Not a bad idea.

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Baseball does not have a salary cap. What rules in baseball apply to football?

Not the specifics probably, but the concepts of maximizing value. You win by getting more value from players than you’re paying them. If you have rookies who can play beyond their age, or veterans who play above their salaries, your chances of winning go up,

This is actually what my daughter would be good at.

There’s surely more money with the NFL, but have him consider being a cap guy for an NHL team. They have some the most convoluted rules.

When it comes to convoluted salary cap rules, nothing - and I mean Nothing with a capital N - beats the NBA rules.

More rules mean you need more, and more talented, people to navigate them. First rule of bureaucracy.

From what I understand about the NBA rules, they had the best of intentions of promoting competitive balance among the franchises but that the Law of Unintended Consequences came into play just about every time. The NBA remains the closest to a caste system of the four major professional sports leagues.

People often focus on how much a ball player makes

What’s more important is what they spend and their choices around instant riches

I’d rather make significantly less allowing other players around me to make more if it meant more wins and meant that I spent less overall. I think most pundits in pro sports miss the spending side of the equation. Brady understood it’s what he got to keep that counts so he was a very wise person

Good call.
He follows very little hockey, so it would actually be better for him. The less knowledge about the sport the better he would be at making strictly data based decisions.

Back on topic.
I truly believe Brady really just wanted to win SuperBowls.

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And, the NHL lags the other professional sports in using analytics.

I know there are some stats to use, but IMO, NHL and NBA are harder to track than MLB and NFL.