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NFL Open Thread: How Close Is Tom Brady to Midnight?

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Tom Brady is having a season that is historically good for a 42 year old and distressingly close to league average for the arguable GOAT. Tom Curran reports that if things don’t improve this may be has last year in Foxboro:

With the reworked agreement, Brady also got the Patriots to agree they wouldn’t use the franchise tag on him after this year. For the first time since 2000, Brady will have no owner, no boss, no team.

Unless the two sides get back to the table before he becomes a free agent.

If they do, do you have any guesses on how that’s going to go? I do. 

The Patriots didn’t want to ante up for a 42-year-old quarterback this year the same way they didn’t want to ante up for Brady in 2017 when he was 40.

With his 43-year-old season approaching, Brady and his agent Don Yee are going to sit down and ask for a bump to bring him in line with the rest of the league’s best quarterbacks after Brady has one of the worst statistical seasons of his career?

Doesn’t that seem like a request that Bill Belichick would begin to answer with the words, “With all due respect …”?

Bill Barnwell has an excellent deep dive into the atypical mediocrity of the Patriots’ passing offense. The bottom line is that 1)Brady is not throwing as well as he did two years ago but 2)the lack of surrounding skill talent is the bigger problem. For the 2019 Patriots, how to apportion responsibility between Brady and the rest of the offense is moot since no cavalry is coming, but it will be interesting to see what happens next year.

We alluded to this last week, but the decision to blow a first round pick on Sony Michel looks particularly disastrous given what was still on the board:

The decision to draft Michel, which seemed curious at the time for a Pats offense that had almost always succeeded with low-cost backs in the primary rushing role, looks downright disastrous given how poorly he has run this season. The Pats drafted Michel with the 31st pick of the first round, four selections before the Browns chose Nick Chubb. Later in the second round, weapons such as Courtland Sutton, DJ Chark and Dallas Goedert all came off of the board. This year, the Pats took little-used Damien Harris in the third round just before the Bills drafted Dawson Knox, who has made an instant impact for Buffalo. Hindsight, maybe, but why use a premium draft pick on Michel unless he’s a difference-maker as both a runner and receiver?

And Barnwell generously refrains from pointing out the player taken immediately after Michel: Lamar Jackson, who would look much better as the starting QB for the 2020 Patriots than quarterbacking the team likely to get the top seed in the AFC. And it’s not just that Michel has been an ineffective runner this year. Because he has no value as a receiver he’s removed a lot of the unpredictability that’s critical to how New England’s offense operates.

And yet, with all this the brutal truth is that the Patriots still have a great defense and Brady is still a lot better than the 2015 “Peyton Manning,” so we’re far from done with them yet.

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