September 06, 2009
Seymour Trade Makes Belichick Accountable
BY: Kevin Rousseau
I wrote it after the draft in April and the words still ring true. Give the Patriots credit. They are never, ever boring.
The latest installment in "When Playing For BB, It Is Best To Rent And Not Own" is the stunning trade of Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders for a 2011 first-round pick. The move makes winning a Super Bowl this year a little more difficult yet gives the Patriots a huge chip to play in future years. The possibility of re-signing the 29-year old player after his contract expired this season was remote. The $3.85 million that now comes off the team's 2009 salary cap can theoretically now be used towards signing bonuses for upcoming free agents like Vince Wilfork.
Given the nature of the Raiders, in two years the pick could be a top-five pick and turn into an amazing flip for a year of service by an all-pro defensive lineman. Make no mistake. This will make the Patriots weaker on a defense that already has a lot of open-ended questions heading into the 2009 season. The strength of the defensive line was not one of those questions. Suddenly, it is one.
The key element to understand about the trade is that with one man firmly in charge, the Patriots are one of the few teams in the League that can afford the luxury of making such a risk-taking move. Bill Belichick's job is not in jeopardy anytime soon and frankly, who are we to question his personnel moves?
Sure, there's been some stinkers over the years like the Alex Smith trade or the perennial offseason cornerback free agent signing that smells like week-old tuna salad. But when it comes to the big ones, Belichick invariably always hits. Milloy, Law, McGinest, Branch, Coates, Vrabel, Bledsoe---"you can go right down the line" as the Hooded One would say at his always captivating press conferences.
The new interesting dynamic at play here is that Scott Pioli is not around anymore to stand up to Belichick when it comes to personnel moves. How this manifests itself in the coming years remains to be seen. Will there be more of these moves than in year's past with no counterweight in Foxboro?
Every time one of these shockers comes down, it reinforces the fact that most fans and followers of the team--present company included--don't have the stomach to get past the emotional attachment that we have with these players. And of course, it wouldn't be one of us that is the constant subject of messageboards, columnist and pundits. We just go on with our lives.
Tonight, Bill Belichick is accountable for his actions. Just how many other people --whether in football or elsewhere -- have the guts to do just that?
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