The Buccaneers quarterback referred to NFL players as "ignorant" and it seems the thing that set him off was the release of Forbes' annual list of the NFL's most valuable franchises. Brady seemed to be especially irritated by the fact that the salary cap went down this year even though the NFL's 32 teams actually increased in value by an average of 14% (The overall increase was slightly surprising, but only because the NFL lost billions due to the pandemic).
As far as franchise value goes, no team had a bigger jump in value than Brady's Bucs. After adding Brady -- and then winning the Super Bowl -- the Buccaneers jumped from being the 29th most valuable team in the NFL in 2020 ($2.28 billion) to being the 21st most valuable team in 2021 ($2.94 billion). That 29% increase led the NFL.
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"The salary cap dropped by 20% and the new media deals were announced the day AFTER 2021 salary cap was set," Brady wrote in an Instagram story. "NFL players better wake up @NFLPA. NFL players are IGNORANT."
Basically, Brady seems to be lashing out at both NFL players and the NFLPA. It's possible that Brady wanted to see the NFLPA negotiate a better collective bargaining agreement that would have allowed the players to cash in as soon as the NFL signed its new TV deal.
The 44-year-old clearly wasn't happy with the fact that the salary cap went down by 20% this year (to $182.5 million) in a move that was announced just days before the NFL landed a monstrous media deal worth $112.6 billion (Brady wrote that the media deal came out the day after the salary cap was announced, but it was actually just over one week later. The 2021 cap number was set on March 10 while the NFL's new media deal was announced on March 18).
Brady's ultimate point seems to be that the owners are getting a much better deal than the players, but it's not that simple. The salary cap is tied to the amount of revenue the NFL makes each year and total revenue went down by roughly $4 billion due to the pandemic, so it was almost a given that the cap was going to go down. Also, the owners would likely argue that they ate all the losses in 2020 while still paying the players every cent they were owed.
The upside for the players going forward is that the cap should shoot up each year over the next decade. For 2022, the league has already announced that the cap could go as high as $208.2 million, which would be a 14% increase over 2021.
As for the list of the most valuable franchises, you can check out the 10 most valuable teams by clicking here.