Monday, July 26, 2010

The end in sight for Brady?

What I am about to suggest will be considered blasphemy by many Patriot fans, but news out of Foxboro that the Pats and QB Tom Brady are getting closer on a contract extension may not be good news. Brady has a year left on his contract, and he turns 33 next week. The odds say that extending his contract with any significant dollars will lead to significant dollars sitting on the bench, or at least, not performing.

The case for not extending Brady starts with his age. He will be 33 for the 2010-11 season. Putting that in context, since 1980, only 37 QBs have had seasons in which they have thrown more than 450 passes (Brady has averaged 525 attempts in seasons he has played significant time). Of those 37, only 9 played more than two seasons. So of the approximately 900 QB seasons since 1980, QBs that are 33 or older have played 8.5% and only 24% of those that make it to 33, then make it to 35. These are to numbers that scream "Long Term Extension Time".

The push back of course is that Brady is special, he is different, he is the Golden Boy who can do no wrong. He is a winner! There is no question that Brady has been an exceptional QB, but that does not make him immune to the effects of time. Remember, Patriot fans, how much you loved Drew Bledsoe? He did take you to a Super Bowl and had many productive seasons, but he was all of 29 when his injury provided Brady with his first opportunity and 34 when he threw his last pass as a Dallas Cowboy (and 33 when he had his last season of 450+ attempts).

Bledsoe not a good enough comparison for you? Not golden enough? How about Jim Kelly? Done at 36 but his last 450+ season was when he was 35.

Sure Steve Young played until he was 38, but he wasn't starting in the NFL until he was 30 and Brady has already thrown more passes than he did his entire career.

Then there is the ultimate golden boy not named Brady, Joe Montana. Joe, like Young, played until he was 38, but from the time he was 30, he only averaged 10 starts a season, and had only two seasons with more than 450 attempts.

Favre and Elway are really the only QBs that were consistent starters with high numbers of pass attempts that continued to play well late into their 30s. Could Brady be the next? Sure, but I would not bet on it.

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