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In Wilbon's World

Inside the Seymour Deal

Stunning trades take place all the time in baseball, basketball and hockey, but rarely do they occur in pro football, which is why the Patriots dealing Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a first-round draft pick in 2011 is so shocking and leads to a couple of intriguing theories.

The Patriots, with Tom Brady back, are set up to try and win now yet they just dealt their best defensive lineman, a man who has made the Pro Bowl five times in his first eight seasons and might be the best defensive lineman in Patriots history. So why would the Patriots deal him? Well, 2011 could be the first year of a rookie salary cap, which would keep down the cost of the pick and the Raiders are bad enough that it could be a top three pick, which the Patriots could use to acquire the successor to Brady, who will then be 34.

Or, if you're a little more cynical, you might wonder whether Bill Belichick is so arrogant that he figures anybody he puts on the field, by the simple act of that blessing, will be good enough to keep the Patriots on a championship course. We'll find out, especially since the defense even two years ago during the 18-1 run wasn't particularly scary.

Since then the Patriots have lost Asante Samuel, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and now Seymour. Since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl (2004), there has been a human resources drain with players and coaches scattering, as is the case with most any multiple champion in any team sport. The losses are why the Patriots have been surpassed by the Steelers the last few seasons and why so many people aren't picking the Patriots to win it all again.

Seymour, understandably, hadn't reported to the Raiders as of this morning. Oakland had the 27th-ranked defense last season and was dead last against the run this preseason. It's no surprise the Raiders would try to upgrade along the defensive line, but it's also no surprise that Seymour appears less than excited about joining the Raiders, who could be the most dysfunctional franchise in the league. Harrison, in his rookie season as a broadcast analyst for NBC, told that his friend and former teammate isn't excited by the prospect of playing for the Raiders. "He's not thrilled...Who would be thrilled to go the Oakland Raiders?"


Michael Wilbon

 |  September 9, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This move is only considered a good move because the Patriots made it. Turn it around and say the Redskins traded Portis for a #1 in 2011 and people would be saying how dumb this franchise is.

Time will tell is Belicheat is right or wrong.....

Posted by: punchdaclock | September 10, 2009 8:53 AM
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Wilbon claims it's "understandable" that Big Sey has not reported to such a poor team. Why? He's a Pro. He gets paid a ton of money and is exact reason he should report and do so with his head up. He is a Pro. He can allow his feelings to be hurt and be forever ticked at NE. That's it. Outside of that, as a Pro, he is required to get out there and give his employers his best effort in earning his millions. That is what Pros do, Wilbon.

Posted by: TheDubb | September 10, 2009 8:15 AM
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This was a great move by New England.

Seymour was going to be a free agent after the season and wanted a new deal no doubt in the range of what Albert Haynesworth got from Washington.

At age 30, he's not worth that kind of investment over the next 5-6 years.

New England is trading him at a peak and Oakland is paying top price for what are likely to be successively less productive seasons for Seymour going forward.

But this is the same Al Davis that drafted Heyward-Bey at #7 in April and brought in the super competitive Jeff Garcia and then cut him because he wanted to compete for the starting qb job.

Given Garcia's time in Philly and Tampa, wasn't it obvious to anyone that would listen that Jeff wasn't going to go 'quietly' and just agree to be a backup to a quarterback in Jamarcus Russell, that may end up being a huge draft flop?

Posted by: leopard09 | September 9, 2009 4:25 PM
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I think it is becoming clear that the Pats want to be more fiscally conservative in these tough economic times and with an impending lockout.

Looking at it now, it appears that they told Bruschi to retire or be moved, included Vrabel in the Cassel deal because they saw an opportunity to get rid of his contract, and did not want to make a large financial commitment to Seymour with the unknown of a new CBA on the horizon.

The Pats will take there chances with a younger defense built around Mayo and A. Thomas. They expect the offense to do the real work, while Kraft sets some funds aside in anticipation of a work stopage.

Posted by: SportzWiz | September 9, 2009 3:51 PM
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Samuel, Vrabel, Bruschi, Harrison. You can hear the rust grind just mentioning those names. (See Zach Thomas.) Getting rid of them is an automatic upgrade. Seymour may be a different story, but the Pats do have depth on the D-line.

Posted by: shoveit | September 9, 2009 3:20 PM
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Seymour maybe the best d lineman in pats history, but he wasn't, as of this year, the best on the team - that's clearly Wilfork.

The Pats will miss Seymour, but most people who follow the team know that the d-line is far and away its deepest area. If they go to a four man front, Green and Wright - along with Brace - will do the job.

Posted by: bstahlbe | September 9, 2009 3:10 PM
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