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When considering the true value of the Mona Lisa, one has to fully understand its worth. The greatest painting the world has ever known isn't worth just what it's insured at. What about its value to France's tourism industry? The ability to sell copyrighted coffee mugs? What would someone pay simply to say that they own it?

The work is thus normally labeled as priceless. It'd never be sold, and if it did, who could possibly determine the record-breaking price?

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history and its greatest champion. This time last year he came on the market, and not enough teams appreciated how priceless he is.

The Bucs and Chargers did, and we know the Bucs won that battle and went on to win Super Bowl LV. By virtue of bringing on Brady at a two-year, $50 million deal and winning, they were able to retain Lavonte David, Chris GodwinRob Gronkowski and Shaq Barrett this offseason.

I borrowed this idea from my pal and coworker Will Brinson and wish to expand on it.

GM Jason Licht had already put plenty of playoff-contending pieces together in Tampa before Brady signed there. But getting Brady also meant getting Rob Gronkowski out of retirement, grudgingly signing Antonio Brown and luring Leonard Fournette there once the Jags cut him.

It's not unique that Super Bowl-winning players sometimes wish to stay with their teams the following year. Godwin had no choice, thanks to the franchise tag, but David and Barrett would have very likely gotten more guaranteed money had they tested free agency. Barrett didn't last 10 minutes in the legal tampering window before declaring his loyalty to Tampa in the form of a four-year deal worth up to $72 million.

Teams like the 49ers and Raiders decided to ride with their respective starting quarterbacks this time last year. The Titans inked Ryan Tannehill to a long-term deal instead of pursuing Brady. Of that trio, San Francisco is surely the team that wants its decision back the most.

The math appeared to be simple then, though it's easy to say now with another Lombardi in Tampa: Sign Brady to a cap-friendly deal, let him instill discipline and a winning culture in the building, win with him like he's done his entire professional career and then reap the intrinsic benefits.

What other teams could have pursued Brady last offseason had they understood his full potential value? Which of those teams would Brady have even considered? We'll never know.

Whether it's ticket sales, jerseys, Super Bowl gear, All-Pro discounts or more, Brady's value is far, far greater than whatever is on his contract. And the Buccaneers always recognized that.

More insider notes

  • There's a wide range for what teams believe is fair value for Sam Darnold. One team has him pegged as worthy of a third-round pick. Another has been willing to part with two mid-round picks. It seems like a second-round pick plus a mid-rounder would do the job, but no one seems to be burning up the phone lines to get that deal done. 
  • The New England Patriots are spending because … why wouldn't they? Without taking into account the Trent Brown trade from last week, the Patriots had upwards of $60 million to spend in free agency heading into Monday's legal tampering window. They were coming off their worst season in two decades. Their poor drafts have caught up to them. Exactly why wouldn't they be spenders this week? 
  • With Jarrad Davis going to the Jets on a one-year, $7 million deal, the inside linebacker market is beginning to thin out. That's why we saw the linebacker swap between Miami and Houston earlier this week. If you're a team in need of a linebacker, a trade may be your best option at this point rather than paying for a cheap one in the third wave of free agency.
  • It does not seem like the Ravens are in any rush to trade Orlando Brown Jr.
  • I don't anticipate the Washington Football Team spending big for a free-agent quarterback. They tried that with Matthew Stafford and got outbid. I think WFT will continue focusing on building a quality team around the quarterback position and then fill that role with either a veteran—Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mitch Trubisky, Darnold or perhaps someone like Marcus Mariota if he becomes available—or try their luck in the draft. 
  • The Raiders have been quiet so far but I can see them grabbing an edge rusher and/or free safety within the next 48 hours.