Ideas

Tom Brady’s Best Teammates—Ranked

tk

When you spend 20 years playing in the NFL, you’re bound to have a long list of incredible teammates. Since 2000, Tom Brady has seen countless players put on a New England Patriots jersey and stand alongside him. Although many of them have won a Super Bowl with him — that’s what happens when you’ve won six of them — some of the guys Brady has played with have left a greater impression than others.

We looked back through Brady’s NFL tenure so far and ranked his best teammates. We’re only counting what each of these players did during their time on the same roster as Brady, so it’s completely moot if they were also incredible with another team. We gave extra credit to players who spent a long time playing with him, but that wasn’t the most important factor in our ranking.

25. Jerod Mayo

Brady’s Teammate: 2008-2015

Linebacker Jerod Mayo spent eight seasons with Brady in New England, and he was a key member of the team’s defense during that lengthy stretch. He was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year in 2009 and was as good as any linebacker in football from 2008-2012, including in 2010, when he led the league in tackles. During his time with Brady, Mayo was a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro first-team selection. He helped Brady win the Super Bowl after the 2014 season but was forced to miss the big game due to injuries.

jerod mayo photo
Getty Images | Jim Rogash

24. Patrick Chung

Brady’s Teammate: 2009-2012; 2014-2018

Defensive back Patrick Chung has had two separate tenures playing as a teammate of Brady’s, adding up to nine seasons with him. Since rejoining the Patriots in 2014 after a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chung has been a part of all three of Brady’s most recent Super Bowl wins following the 2014, 2016 and 2018 seasons. Chung has truly worked his way up to become a major part of the Patriots defense, becoming a team captain in 2018. He broke his arm during the most recent Super Bowl but did enough to win another ring.

patrick chung photo
Getty Images | Al Bello

23. Dan Koppen

Brady’s Teammate: 2003-2011

It’s a little tougher to judge offensive linemen against other players, but center Dan Koppen deserves a place on this list for his long tenure with Brady and his remarkable ability to stay healthy. In nine seasons with Brady, Koppen was named to one Pro Bowl and won two Super Bowls as part of the team’s first dynasty, following the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Koppen played in at least 15 games in all but one season from 2003 to 2010, giving Brady that steady presence at center that all quarterbacks need.

dan koppen patriots photo
Getty Images | Rick Stewart

22. Logan Mankins

Brady’s Teammate: 2005-2013

Like Koppen, Logan Mankins was a constant presence on the offensive line for nine seasons with Brady, where he played guard. Mankins is one of few players on this list to not win a Super Bowl and might be the most unlucky of all of Brady’s teammates — he joined the team the year after one title win and left it the year before another one. Mankins certainly deserved a ring, making six Pro Bowls and a first-team All-Pro selection. He only missed 14 total games in his time as Brady’s teammate and didn’t miss a single one in his first five seasons.

logan mankins photo
Getty Images | Scott Halleran

21. Ty Warren

Brady’s Teammate: 2003-2010

He’s not the biggest name associated with Brady’s first dynasty in New England, but Ty Warren was consistently singled out as one of the team’s hardest workers and most underrated players. In eight seasons playing alongside Brady as a defensive lineman and defensive end, Warren won two Super Bowls and was chosen as a first-team All-Pro player once. He stayed remarkably healthy for someone playing such a tough position, playing in at least 15 games in each of his first five seasons, including playing in all 16 games four times.

ty warren patriots photo
Getty Images | Mark Konezny

20. Willie McGinest

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2005

He only spent six seasons with Brady, but Willie McGinest made a huge mark in them. The linebacker and defensive end was already a stud before Brady came to the Patriots, but he ended up being a big part of the quarterback’s first three Super Bowl wins, following the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons. McGinest holds the Patriots record for most career tackles and is second in team history for sacks and fumbles forced. He only made one Pro Bowl during his time with Brady, but winning three titles in six seasons together is as efficient as you can get.

willie mcginest photo
Getty Images | Mark Konezny

19. Asante Samuel

Brady’s Teammate: 2003-2007

Speaking of efficiency, defensive back Asante Samuel won two Super Bowls in just five seasons spent as a teammate of Brady’s. In that short time, he was simply outstanding and is still tied as the Patriots’ all-time leader in passes deflected and is 10th in interceptions in team history. In 2006, Samuel led the NFL in both of those stat categories but somehow wasn’t chosen as a Pro Bowler or All-Pro first-teamer. Put frankly, Samuel was as good as any defensive player Brady has ever played with.

asante samuel patriots photo
Getty Images | Al Messerschmidt

18. Ty Law

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2004

As of 2019, Ty Law is one of only two Hall of Famers that Brady has shared a sideline with. The legendary defensive back spent five seasons with Brady, proving to be an instrumental part of three Super Bowl-winning teams in that short span. Law was also chosen to three consecutive Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro selection once after Brady’s arrival in New England. No other player in Patriots history has run back more interceptions for touchdowns, and he’s still tied atop the team’s all-time interception list. Law and Brady proved pretty lethal on opposite sides of the ball together.

ty law patriots photo
Getty Images | Doug Pensinger

17. Deion Branch

Brady’s Teammate: 2002-2005; 2010-2012

Tom Brady has hit an NFL-record 71 different receivers with touchdown passes in his career, and Deion Branch was one of his first go-to targets. The wide receiver’s two separate stints with the Patriots added up to six-plus seasons that included two Super Bowl wins. Branch wound up averaging about 50 receiving yards per game during his time with Brady, not including stats that were even better during the playoffs. He finished with the fourth-most receiving yards in the Brady era (4,297) and the fifth-most touchdown catches in that span (24), proving him to be one of the quarterback’s best partners.

RELATED:   Here's What Happened When A Woman Asked A Homeless Man To Watch Her Purse
Bills v Patriots
Getty Images | Ezra Shaw

16. Troy Brown

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2007

Another Patriots lifer, receiver Troy Brown was with the team from 1993-2007, which gave him eight seasons as a teammate of Brady’s. In that span, he helped the team win three Super Bowls and was named to a Pro Bowl. Brown was a consistent 900-yard receiver during Brady’s first three seasons and ended up averaging 648.4 receiving yards per season just during their time together. He proved to be as versatile as anyone Brady ever played with, racking up receiving yards, punt return yards and even grabbing three interceptions in his career.

troy brown patriots photo
Getty Images | Jonathan Daniel

15. Matthew Slater

Brady’s Teammate: 2008-2018

Special teams star Matthew Slater has had one of the longest tenures with Brady of any of his teammates. In 11 seasons together, Slater has helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls and has been selected to an outstanding seven consecutive Pro Bowls. Slater is renowned as a defensive specialist on special teams, so he’s tougher to judge from a statistical standpoint, but his long stretch of success with Brady’s teams earns him a place on this list. As a kick returner, Slater has averaged 18.2 yards per attempt during his time with Brady.

matthew slater patriots photo
Getty Images | Adam Glanzman

14. Devin McCourty

Brady’s Teammate: 2010-2018

If you measure football greatness by consistency, then Devin McCourty is as good as anyone. In nine seasons with Brady so far, McCourtey has only missed five total games and has racked up enough hits to become the third-leading tackler in Patriots history. The defensive back, who’s also done some work as a kick returner, has been selected to two Pro Bowls and has been a big part of Brady’s three most recent Super Bowl wins. McCourty has been a starter from day one and has lived up to the billing plenty, easily becoming one of Brady’s best defensive teammates.

devin mccourty photo
Getty Images | Adam Glanzman

13. Vince Wilfork

Brady’s Teammate: 2004-2014

When you think of defensive linemen from Brady’s era, it’s tough to top Vince Wilfork. The five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle was virtually indestructible, missing only six starts from 2005-2012. In his 11 seasons spent with Brady — one of the longest tenures of anyone on the list — Wilfork was part of two Super Bowl wins that spanned both of the quarterback’s dynasties, winning rings after the 2004 and 2014 seasons, which bookended his career in New England.

vince wilfork photo
Getty Images | Jim Rogash

12. Corey Dillon

Brady’s Teammate: 2004-2006

In just three seasons as a teammate of Brady’s, Corey Dillon proved himself to be unquestionably the most dominant rusher the quarterback has ever played with. He’s one of only two running backs to compile at least 3,000 rushing yards in their time with Brady — and the other guy took 12 seasons to do it. Dillon also has the most rushing touchdowns of any Patriot in Brady’s era (37) and averaged the most rushing yards per game of anyone to have played with him (74.0).

Dillon was simply unstoppable from the backfield, helping the Patriots make the playoffs every year he was with them and punching in at least 12 touchdowns every season. If Brady and Dillon had only played together longer, they could’ve been truly unstoppable. It’s incredible they only won a single Super Bowl as a tandem.

corey dillon patriots photo
Getty Images | Al Messerschmidt

11. Adam Vinatieri

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2005

Brady has been lucky to spend his entire career playing with two of the greatest kickers in NFL history, and Adam Vinatieri was his first. The NFL’s all-time leader in points scored and field goals kicked, Vinatieri is personally responsible for securing a pair of Brady’s rings with game-winning kicks in the final seconds of two Super Bowls. In his six seasons with Brady, Vinatieri was indispensable, twice leading the NFL in field goal percentage and never posting an extra-point percentage lower than 97.4 percent.

If he hadn’t ended up playing with Brady’s chief rival, Peyton Manning, after leaving New England, Vinatieri could be even higher on this list.

MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images

10. Julian Edelman

Brady’s Teammate: 2009-2018

Receiver and punt returner Julian Edelman made a strong statement in the Super Bowl following the 2018 season, being named the game’s MVP and helping Brady win his sixth ring. Edelman has been part of three of Brady’s Super Bowl wins so far and has been instrumental in the quarterback’s continued dominance. He’s averaged at least 10 yards per catch every season since 2012 and at least 66 receiving yards per game in every season since 2013, racking up the third-most total receiving yards of any Patriot in Brady’s era (5,390).

On special teams, Edelman has been even better, recording the most punt return touchdowns in Patriots history and the most total punt return yards of anyone in Brady’s era (1,986).

julian edelman photo
Getty Images | Maddie Meyer

9. Randy Moss

Brady’s Teammate: 2007-2010

In just a little more than three seasons together, Brady and Randy Moss proved to be one of the most exciting quarterback-receiver pairs in NFL history. During that magical, near-perfect 2007 season, the tandem combined for 23 touchdowns, which is still the most by any single receiver in one season in NFL history. Moss also led the league in touchdown catches in 2009, and he combined with Brady for 39 total touchdowns, which is the second most Brady has thrown to any receiver as of 2018.

In just that short period as his teammate, the Hall of Fame receiver racked up fifth-most receiving yards in the Brady era (3,904) and averaged the second-most receiving yards per game in Patriots history, with 75.1. It seems unfair that they never won a Super Bowl together.

Photo by Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

RELATED:   Pantene Asked Super Bowl Stars To Do Their Daughters' Hair, And It's Adorable [VIDEO]

8. Kevin Faulk

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2011

Kevin Faulk was probably the ultimate jack of all trades to have shared a sideline with Brady. The Patriots lifer, who joined the team in 1999, a year before Brady, spent 12 seasons playing with the quarterback as a rusher, receiver, blocker and kick returner. Faulk has the most career kickoff return yards of anyone in team history by a mile, racking up 4,098 of them. More impressively, Faulk also has the most total rushing yards of any Patriot in the Brady era (3,607) and the sixth-most receiving yards in that span (3,701). He was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams with No. 12.

kevin faulk photo
Getty Images | Brian Bahr

7. Mike Vrabel

Brady’s Teammate: 2001-2008

Another monster Brady could always count on for defensive stops was linebacker Mike Vrabel. He was a huge part of the quarterback’s first three Super Bowls, missing only three games in his entire eight seasons as Brady’s teammate. During that time, Vrabel was only once a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro pick, but he forced 21 turnovers in his time with Brady and forced 12.5 sacks in 2007 alone.

Vrabel is tied with the third-most tackles for a loss in Patriots history and has the fourth-most sacks recorded for the franchise.

mike vrabel patriots photo
Getty Images | Al Messerschmidt

6. Wes Welker

Brady’s Teammate: 2007-2012

There’s probably no wide out that had a tighter connection with Brady than Wes Welker proved to have in their seven seasons together. It’s incredible to think they never won a Super Bowl as a tandem, because if any of Brady’s teammates deserved to, it was probably Welker.

His two selections to the All-Pro first team with the Patriots are the most of any receiver in team history, and his five consecutive Pro Bowl selections speak for themselves. Welker was unquestionably Brady’s go-to guy in the time they were together, with him leading the league in receptions three times in that span. He still has the most total receptions in Patriots history (672) and holds the franchise’s best average of receiving yards per game (80.2).

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Getty Images | Winslow Townson

5. Richard Seymour

Brady’s Teammate: 2001-2008

Another absolute beast on defense that Brady was blessed to call a teammate was Richard Seymour. In his eight seasons with Brady, Seymour was phenomenal, winning three Super Bowls, making five consecutive Pro Bowls and earning three consecutive first-team All-Pro selections, the latter of which is the same number Brady has earned in his whole career. The defensive end/tackle was a pass-rushing monster who ranks second in Patriots history for tackles for a loss and 54th in NFL history in that category.

He makes a strong case for the Hall of Fame based only on what he did with Brady.

richard seymour patriots photo
Getty Images | Tom Hauck

4. Tedy Bruschi

Brady’s Teammate: 2000-2008

Before Brady took the mantle, Tedy Bruschi was the unquestioned leader of the Patriots and probably its most beloved star. The careers of these two legends overlapped for nine seasons and resulted in three Super Bowl wins. Bruschi, a punishing linebacker in his day, gets our pick as Brady’s best defensive teammate ever because of his consistent play and his leadership abilities.

He had been with the Patriots since 1996 but had a string of incredible years once Brady got there, finishing his career near the top of many of the team’s record books. Bruschi forced more fumbles than anyone in Patriots history and is second in total tackles and pick-sixes in team history. With Bruschi commanding the defense and Brady commanding the offense, the Patriots were unstoppable in the early 2000s.

New York Jets v New England Patriots
Getty Images | Jim Rogash

3. Matt Light

Brady’s Teammate: 2001-2011

Every quarterback needs a reliable offensive tackle to keep him from getting crushed by lightning-fast pass rushers, and Matt Light was as good as it gets. In 11 seasons playing on the offensive line in front of Brady, Light was a starter from day one and didn’t miss a single game in seven of those campaigns.

Stats for offensive linemen are criminally missing from NFL record books, but Light was selected to three Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro selection once during his time with Brady. He was a huge part of the quarterback’s first three Super Bowl wins and can arguably be thanked for keeping him healthy enough to continue dominating into his 40s today.

matt light patriots photo
Getty Images | Elsa

2. Stephen Gostkowski

Brady’s Teammate: 2006-2018

Putting a kicker this high might ruffle some feathers, but nobody has spent more seasons as Brady’s teammate than Stephen Gostkowki — and he’s been brilliant for all of them. In 13 seasons so far as Brady’s kicker, Gostkowski has led the NFL in field goals made three times and once went nine consecutive seasons without missing an extra point.

It can easily be argued that Gostkowski is among the best kickers in football history, and Brady has benefited immensely from Gostkowski scoring more than 150 points in five different seasons, which is unprecedented. Gostkowski has won three Super Bowls with Brady, has been chosen to four Pro Bowls and has twice been selected to the All-Pro first team as the game’s best leg.

gostkowski super bowl photo
Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox

1. Rob Gronkowski

Brady’s Teammate: 2010-2018

The partnership of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady was one of the most dominant in football history, leading to three Super Bowl wins in nine seasons. In that span, Gronkowski’s numbers were obscene, with him racking up the most receiving touchdowns in Patriots history (79) and the most receiving yards in Brady’s era (7,861). The future Hall of Fame tight end was selected as a first-team All-Pro in an incredible four seasons, which is the most of any Patriots player at any position since the 1980s.

Injuries wore him down in the end, but Gronkowski caught at least 10 touchdowns per season for five of his first six years with Brady, including leading the league with 17 in 2011. Pro Football Focus rated Brady and Gronkowski as the best quarterback-receiver duo in NFL history based on advanced metrics, and it’s tough to argue with. Brady will probably never have a better teammate than Gronk.

gronkowski patriots photo
Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox