Hall of Famer and current Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders believes no quarterback will match the recently retired Tom Brady and win seven career Super Bowl championship rings.
“The reason it won’t happen for quite some time — anything is possible — is that now we’re at a financial state that I don’t believe that guy is going to be as humble as Tom Brady and work with his team and take less,” Sanders told USA Today Sports, as shared by Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports. “This culture ain’t built like that. This culture wants every dang dime they can get. So you have to sacrifice some things to be in that position and I don’t think this culture is ready to make those types of sacrifices.”
Some may think Sanders merely offered a “get off my lawn” take that’s typical from a former athlete who featured in a previous generation, but he makes an interesting point.
Last February, Andrew Brandt of Sports Illustrated noted that Brady “consistently and continuously did not (or would not) maximize on-field earnings during his two decades” with the New England Patriots.
John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times later mentioned that Brady “left at least $60 million on the table, and probably more than $100 million, during his New England years.”
To compare, Spotrac shows that Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns will carry a salary-cap hit of $54,993,000 for the 2023 season based on the fully guaranteed $230 million contract he landed from the team last year.
It’s widely believed that star quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens haven’t yet come to terms on a long-term deal because he wants to put pen to paper on a fully guaranteed contract similar to what Watson received.
There’s a perception within NFL circles that Cincinnati Bengals signal-caller Joe Burrow could follow in Brady’s footsteps and worry more about his club being able to hold onto talents such as wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase than about making as much money as possible via his second pro contract.
However, it’s possible Sanders is right and that Brady was a one-of-a-kind player in many ways.