What is Tom Brady’s True Worth?
What could the greatest quarter back to ever live fetch on the open market? It's an interesting question that makes great fodder for sports talk radio. But always a hypothetical, as we've never seen a situation where Brady so much as neared the open market. That is, until now.
As it's currently constructed, Brady's "extension" is set to void at the end of the 2019 season. Meaning unless in-season negotiations take place between QB and organization, TB12 will be a free agent for the first time in his 20-year career. Even if for only the briefest of moments.
So, what is the going rate of the G.O.A.T.? After all, despite getting set to embark on his age-42 season, it's not like the proverbial 'cliff' is waiting around the corner. Three Super Bowl appearances, two championships and a league MVP. That's just the last three seasons. Not to mention his "down year" of 2018 which saw him throw for 4,355 yards and 29 TD's, numbers most QB's would point to as their career years in contract talks.
For Brady, and luckily the benefit of the Patriots' organization, it's never been about the money. It's all about winning. But let's say, even for just one hypothetical second, Brady wants to be compensated as the greatest to ever do it...what does that number look like?
Before the start of last season, I attempted to calculate the maximum number that Brady could earn for a 1-year deal by seeing what other quarterbacks around the league were commanding versus the on-field return they were providing their teams.
At the time, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garappolo, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Drew Brees were the five top-earners at the QB position, with an average salary of $26.5mil/per year. The group averaged $3.367-million per victory over their respective careers based on their current deals at the time. (Except in the case of Jimmy G, who averaged $4mil per start, not win, during his brief time as a QB1).
Using that roughly $3.4mil-per-win number as a bench mark, that would have placed Brady at a base salary of $40,404,756, as TB12 racked up 196 wins over 16 seasons for an average of 12/year.
Then, I added on the "bonuses." $250,000 for every season of at least 3,500 yards, 28 TD's and fewer than 10 INT's. Brady had produced seven such seasons in his career, the top-5 earning QB's - a grand total of zero. Tack on $1,750,000 for Brady.
I added in $1-million for each Super Bowl victory. Brady, at the time, had five. The other QB's - one (Drew Brees, 2009). There's an extra $5mil in Brady's pocket.
And finally, I gave the G.O.A.T. and extra $500,000 for each of his three MVP awards. The other five guys? Zero combined NFL MVP's.
The math worked out to Brady being worth $48,654,756 for one season at top-dollar.
That number may seem egregious, but salary cap experts estimate that an NFL team could potentially pay a player of Brady's status upwards of $45-million for one year if the conditions were right.
However, that was last year. Since then, the list of top-5 highest paid QB's has almost entirely turned over, Brady has won a Super Bowl, and other factors taken into consideration in the "bonus" process have slightly devalued.
Combining salary and playing bonuses, the new top-5 rich list consists of Russell Wilson ($70mil), Ben Roethlisberger ($45mil), Matt Ryan ($44.75mil), Nick Foles (30.75mil) and Kirk Cousins ($28mil), for an average of $43.7-million.
This crop of QB's averages a staggering $5.972-million-per-victory, which if you put in Brady terms, equates to a mind-boggling $72,693,529 based on the 12 wins he'll get you on a yearly basis.
As for the bonuses...Well, he won another Super Bowl last season, but the new crew has combined for four rings (Roethlisberger - 2, Wilson and Foles - 1 each) compared to the prior grouping's one. So instead of $1mil/SB title, let's make it $500,000. For the yearly bonuses based on Brady's seven 3500yds/28td/>10int seasons, because Ryan has authored three such years and Big Ben one, we are going to lessen the per-year value by $100k to $150,000. Making for a modest bonus of $1,050,000. As for the MVP bumps, Ryan also owns one MVP trophy, so we'll bring that down a notch from $500k-to-$400k. All told, it puts the new value at a preposterous $77,943,529. That's nearly $8-million more than Russell Wilson is making this year, after factoring in his salary and signing bonus.
Now, in the real-world NFL, almost $78mil isn't happening unless at least $50-to-55-million is in the way of a signing bonus. But with QB cash flow continuing to skyrocket, why shouldn't the 6-time Super Bowl winning, 4-time Super Bowl MVP, 3-time NFL MVP and 14-time Pro Bowl greatest of all-time QB be able to say he's worth $8-million more than the field? It only seems right.
The number of $77,943,529 may seem absurd, but then again so is the G.O.A.T.'s resume.