Is Tom Brady actually a better general manager than Bill Belichick?
Tom Brady has now had three NFL Drafts under his belt with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has proven to be an influence on that front, as well as with free agency/trades.
On the other hand, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is two decades into his run with the team as the de facto general manager and has somehow run into endless criticism these last few years.
Are people forgetting the man has won six Super Bowls and has made countless spot-on draft picks such as BRADY (!), Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Deion Branch, Asante Samuel, Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Matthew Slater, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jimmy Garoppolo, James White, Marcus Cannon, and others?
It sure is easy to call out Belichick for his last few drafts. His early picks (first and second round) really haven’t been good (Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, N’Keal Harry, Joejuan Williams and Josh Uche) and his usual heists in the later rounds have been non-existent (outside of Jake Bailey and Michael Onwenu).
The 2022 NFL Draft saw Belichick in the crosshairs of the critics yet again when he selected a “third-round” talent in Cole Strange with the No. 29 overall pick. He then followed up with what many regarded as another questionable selection of Baylor WR Tyquan Thornton in the second round.
First of all, we haven’t seen any of these guys on the field yet. Second of all, is everyone forgetting about the trifecta of Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson last year? That was a year ago!
Nonetheless, the hate continues, and now we’re wondering if Brady’s influence is actually greater and more insightful than Belichick’s.
Is Tom Brady actually a better GM than Patriots’ Bill Belichick?
It’s also reasonable for the critics to question whether Brady had the true “pull” during his time in New England rather than Belichick, whose system and coaching mechanisms have been called out by former players. Though usually former disgruntled employees have voiced their opinion, it’s hard to deny what Brady and Rob Gronkowski said shortly after their departures.
Since joining the Bucs, Brady has certainly been a prime figure in personnel decisions. Upon his arrival, the team drafted Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield Jr. Last year, they selected Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and prepped for the future with Kyle Trask and Robert Hainsey. This year, many pundits regarded their selections as one of the best top-to-bottom showings. The jury’s still out, but let’s just say the Bucs got much better reviews than the Patriots, and it wasn’t even close.
Throw in Brady’s pull as a recruiter (keeping the entire Super Bowl roster intact and bringing in key players like Gronk, Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown, among others) and it’s not crazy to think that he was a driving factor in New England’s various momentous personnel moves. Remember Randy Moss said he wanted the trade to the Patriots because he wanted to play with Brady? Really don’t think Belichick was what convinced him!
And when you look at the financial decisions Brady helped orchestrate in Tampa (Godwin, Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, Ryan Jensen, Mike Evans’ restructure, and more), it’s not crazy to think Brady’s got his head wrapped around this process in addition to his dominance on the field. Compare all of this to Belichick’s 2021 spending spree, which was a 50-50 venture, and there’s an argument to be had, since he had never orchestrated such an act in free agency ever.
This argument still has plenty more time to marinate, but Brady’s off to a hot start while Belichick’s largely trending downward — since you could argue his various misses from 2016-2019 eventually led to Brady’s departure!
The game just might be passing Belichick at this point despite his successful 2021 draft and few hits in free agency. But we’ll likely get a better idea after the 2022 season when the results for both of these teams are set in stone.