Asante Samuel had some explaining to do.
After the Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday, the former New England cornerback tweeted that Bill Belichick is "just another coach" without Tom Brady.
That's a hot take about a guy with six Super Bowl titles who has more wins than all but two head coaches in NFL history. But Samuel didn't back down from his stance, joining ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday to expound upon his point.
"He hasn't shown that he's a great coach to me because he had the greatest player of all time (in Brady)," Samuel said of Belichick. " ... If I was on the Patriots for 11 years and had 58 interceptions all with the Patriots, what would they have said? 'He's a system player. He can't do it anywhere else.' So, greatness is I did it everywhere I went.
"You can't just be great off one situation. Let's hold some standards to greatness. Let's see how great you are without that No. 1 guy."
Samuel, who won two Super Bowls in five seasons with the Patriots from 2003 to 2007, believes Brady deserves most of the credit for New England's success, and that Brady proved this point by winning a championship without Belichick on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That's a common refrain for those on the "Brady" side of the Belichick vs. Brady debate. But Samuel took things one step further by suggesting that Belichick did the Patriots a disservice in failing to acquire top-end talent to support Brady.
"The one time he did it for Tom Brady (in 2007), we go undefeated," Samuel said. "... What I'm saying is, you're doing an injustice to the New England Patriots family and the team by not surrounding us with that talent year in and year out. Because he could probably go undefeated every year, but for some reason, you choose to give (Brady) the low-end talent.
"You only could do those things with Tom Brady. You knew that, Bill, and you took advantage of that. You suppressed other players. ... You knew you could do that with Tom."
Unless Samuel knows something about the NFL salary cap that we don't, it would have been hard to assemble an All-Star team around a quarterback making $15 million per year. And considering New England went to nine Super Bowls in a span of 20 years, we'd say Belichick's strategy of roster building produced decent results.
Samuel clearly feels otherwise, but if Belichick's Patriots find success with Mac Jones at QB, he won't have much of an argument left.