by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
September 7, 2009
Here’s a sampling of local and national opinion on yesterday’s blockbuster trade that sent mainstay Richard Seymour to Oakland just eight days before the beginning of the Pats’ 2009 season.
That Mike Reiss would have the fairest portrayal of the trade was anything but a blockbuster:
Mike Reiss, Boston Globe – Call made; team goes long
The Patriots chose to go the long route, where the potential payout could be off the charts.
Acquiring the Raiders’ 2011 first-round draft choice is a major haul when considering how woeful that franchise has been, and that a new set of economic rules could be in place that limits the payouts to top first-round picks.
That chip, coupled with an impressive pile of high-round picks over the next two years, puts the Patriots in position to restock their roster to meet their goal of sustained success. So from a long-term perspective, yesterday’s shocker is easily understood.
Yet the risk is what it does for the here-and-now plans of contending for Super Bowl XLIV.
The Patriots are not a better team today without the 29-year-old Seymour, who, when he turns it on, remains a player offenses have to game-plan around. Yet they still might be good enough to win football’s ultimate prize.
That is the gamble they are taking.
Michael Gee, on his consistently entertaining Homegame blog, sees the gamble paying off:
Michael Gee, Homegame – Way to Spoil the Writer’s Labor Day Weekend, Bill
So at a real but manageable risk in 2009, the Pats have the luxury of waiting for their payoff. Despite what Davis may think, it is very likely the 2011 draft will take place as scheduled. If memory doesn’t escape me, New England drafted Seymour with the 6th pick overall in the 2001 draft (if I’m wrong, I know it was in the 5-8 range). I’d be willing to bet right now that the Raiders choice in 2011 will be AT LEAST the 6th overall pick.
Apparently, so was Belichick.
That, in and of itself, is a story, according to Albert Breer of the Sporting News:
Albert Breer, Sporting News – Breaking Down the Richard Seymour Trade
With his contract situation constantly shrouded in secrecy, there’s always been a question as to how long Bill Belichick will remain in New England, no matter how many times he emphasizes that there’s no plan to walk away soon. This trade should tell you that’s absolutely true. If you’ve got an exit strategy in place, you don’t deal one of your best players for a draft pick that is two years away from being utilized.
The Herald’s Ron Borges, per usual, offers the player’s perspective:
Ron Borges, Boston Herald – Richard Seymour’s number comes up
The second time he held out he was asked if he would follow in the footsteps of some of his less bold teammates and accept a “hometown discount.”
“Hometown discount?” he replied. “I’m from South Carolina.”
He said no more because he didn’t have to. This was a man who understood leverage, both at the line of scrimmage and at the negotiation table. That ended such talk and soon after the Patriots made him one of the highest paid defensive linemen in football, which was all he ever asked for or expected. Seymour never insisted upon being the highest-paid defensive lineman in football nor did he care about that. What he cared about was if it’s a business and you’re one of the best in the business then you be paid like it.
Eventually he was paid, but the stone-hearted, businessman’s approach Bill Belichick favors left Seymour cold. He had little feeling for his boss by the time Belichick shipped him yesterday to Oakland for a 2011 first-round draft choice (assuming there is a draft in 2011, which there won’t be if there’s a lockout and no new CBA between management and the players’ union by then), respecting him greatly as a coach, but not much as an employer.
He never understood why fans and too many in the media either didn’t understand that or who had two sets of rules – one for management and a far different one for the employees.
A brief observation; it’s funny how the player is praised for “understanding leverage” while management is seen as “stone hearted.” Talk about two different sets of rules, Ron.
Finally, and also typically, Peter King brings the drama:
Peter King, Sports Illustrated – Monday Morning Quarterback
Seymour, I’m told, is angry about the deal. He lives in Foxboro, has children he may have to relocate to new schools as the school year dawns and has to get acclimated to a new defense (and an awful team) a week before the opening game. “I would not be surprised if he doesn’t report,” a good friend of Seymour’s told me Sunday. I would. Aside from not earning his 2009 salary of $3.7 million, Seymour wouldn’t be able to be a free-agent if he doesn’t play this year. As it stands now, his contract is up after this year, and if he plays well and stays healthy, he could hit the jackpot when next year’s probable uncapped season plays out.
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