Tom Brady Punished by NFL After ‘Dirty’ Play Against Cowboys

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy shakes hands with Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t have their eyes on the rearview mirror, but they may notice that the NFL is punishing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

Dallas dominated Tampa Bay in a 31-14 win on Super Wild Card weekend, setting up a rematch of last year’s Wild Card round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. But while Dallas is preparing for Niners QB Brock Purdy, the NFL is fining Brady.

NFL media insider Ian Rapaport announced that Brady received a five-figure fine for trying to trip Cowboys safety Malik Hooker in the third quarter.

#Bucs QB Tom Brady was fined $16,444 for unnecessary roughness for trying to trip #Cowboys S Malik Hooker on Monday night and C Ryan Jensen was fined $8,333.33 for unnecessary roughness on the same play,” Rapaport posted on January 21.

It was a bizarre play, as Hooker was running the ball back on a play that was then ruled not a turnover. As the safety was crossing the Buccaneers’ 20-yard line, Brady attempted to stop him with what could be considered a slide tackle, a la soccer.

The Tampa Bay quarterback missed with his legs, but the attempt speaks for itself and the NFL has responded accordingly.


Hooker Finding New Gear in Dallas

The Cowboys picked up Hooker in free agency before the 2021 NFL season, and it’s fair to say that the NFL franchise has gotten great value as the former Indianapolis Colts safety has made plenty of plays since joining up with Dallas.

PFR shows that Hooker had three interceptions in the 2022 regular season, the most since his rookie year with Indianapolis. He’s also hit a career-high for solo tackles, totaling 44 in 16 games in 2022.

What really makes Hooker such a valuable player is his contract. The Cowboys’ front office gets criticism for some of the larger contracts for players like QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott, but Hooker has been very cheap so far.

In 2021, Hooker played on a one-year, $920,000 deal for Dallas according to Spotrac. After a solid year, the Cowboys handed him a two-year, $7 million deal that was loaded more to the second season, making his cap hit for this year a reasonable $2.59 million.

Essentially, the Cowboys have paid Hooker $3.5 million over the past two seasons to be an above-average safety. In terms of finances, there may not be a player providing better value on the Dallas roster.


Cowboys Sticking with Maher After Buccaneers Game

While the 31-14 win was a success in many ways, Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed four consecutive extra points and created a whole new position battle in the process.

Dallas signed Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad as kicker insurance and there were rumblings that he could get the nod. But, as Heavy’s Jonathan Adams recently covered, it appears as if head coach Mike McCarthy is sticking with Maher despite a nightmare performance.

“Yeah definitely [seen enough from Maher during practice], Brett has the ball,” McCarthy said in a January 20 press conference. “We’re ready to go.”

Maher had missed three extra points all season before the four errors against the Buccaneers. Whether Dallas decided to stick with Maher or go with Vizcaino, it was going to be a gamble, but the team is apparently giving their current starter another shot.

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