A quick glance at Tom Brady's 2012 numbers don't set off alarms signaling that he is due to fall off soon. More than 4,800 yards, 34 touchdowns, only eight interceptions and a 63.0 completion percentage. Pretty good. Only three quarterbacks totaled more yards and touchdowns while Robert Griffin III was the only full-time starter to throw fewer picks. However, Brady, who will turn 36 prior to next season, did see some sagging in a couple of stats. His completion percentage and yards per attempt average (7.6) were his lowest marks in a full season since 2006. He also threw for his fewest touchdowns since 2009 despite spinning the ball a career-high 637 times.
Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal concludes that these are "signs the normal downhill trend has begun."
"Those who saw the AFC Championship game against Baltimore realize Brady's mobility, which was never great, is slowing down," Kenyon wrote. "He is beginning to show his age, which is only to be expected. ... At the very least, it would seem the Pats have to consider reducing Brady's work load."
Fair points. Father Time is undefeated, and there will come a time when Brady's is up. Since 1920, only eight QBs, including Brady this year, have thrown for at least 30 touchdowns during an age-35-or-older season. Brett Favre and Y.A. Tittle did it twice. I don't doubt that we have seen the best of Tom Brady, and I am concerned about what the seemingly inevitable departure of Wes Welker will do to his production. Plus, the Patriots might want to heed Kenyon's words and rely more on their running game moving forward. Right now, I still consider Brady a top-7 fantasy quarterback. But his value might be tilting down for the first time since 2008, at the earliest.