Now that he’s back in the Super Bowl (while his old team finished 7-9), Brady’s decision appears to have been vindicated from his own standpoint.
As one of his former New England teammates pointed out, that choice may have wider repercussions across the NFL.
Logan Ryan, who helped Brady and the Patriots win two Super Bowls from 2013-2016, noted in a recent interview that the 43-year-old quarterback’s success with the Buccaneers could set a trend among other players with potential contract leverage.
“I think he’s given a lot of power to the players,” Ryan said in a SiriusXM radio interview. “I think what Tom Brady did leaving New England, obviously, he has the right to, chose his spot in Tampa. For that to work out how it has, you see other sports, you see what the basketball players are able to do, and football you don’t have that much power as a player.
“I think he’s given a lot of power to the players”
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 4, 2021
“But Tom Brady, able to successfully change teams after 20 years to a new team and have success right away, now you’re seeing these other quarterbacks saying, ‘You know what? I’m not happy in my situation. I’ve done too much for this city. I’ve done too much for this organization.'”
Ryan cited Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who recently requested a trade.
“‘I think I deserve better, I think I deserve a better role,'” Ryan said, putting himself in Watson’s shoes. “‘I think I deserve better management, better coaching,’ whatever it may be.”
“He’s asking for his release or trade,” Ryan said of Watson, “and then you look at Aaron Rodgers saying his future is a ‘beautiful mystery.’
“So you’re starting to see some of these really elite players who have the who have the leverage say, ‘You know what? I don’t have to just play [for] the city that drafted me,'” Ryan added. “‘I understand they drafted me, but I make a lot of income for the city. I do a lot of good things here. I’m allowed to be happy. I’m allowed to choose where I want to go to and choose my success.'”
For Ryan, Brady has set a precedent that other players may begin to follow.
“I think you’re starting to see what Tom Brady’s doing as a leader,” he explained, “I think he’s shown a lot of players that they can pick their spot, and they can figure out where they want to go next. They don’t have to stay on one team their entire career.”
The potential for a shift in player power may also help change the perception of players seeking better circumstances.
Ryan noted that coaches who pursue greater opportunities or more money are often not critiqued with the same scrutiny as players trying to do the same.
“You see coaches, at the first opportunity they can, get out of town and go to a new team,” said Ryan.
“That’s praised in the coaching world,” Ryan added. “But if a player goes to a different city for more money, or if a player goes to a different city to be tax-free, or if a player goes to a different city for better offensive weapons, then the whole fanbase turns against them.”
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