Sunday, September 06, 2009


Nobody saw this coming. 5 time Pro-Bowler Richard Seymour was shipped to Oakland for a 2011 1st round pick. This is one of the biggest deals the Pats have been involved in for quite some time.

Here's the thing. I'm sure Bellichick and the Patriots weren't looking to get rid of Richard Seymour. If the front office in Foxborough had their druthers, Seymour would be a Patriot for the next 5 or 6 years. But there's a nasty little thing called a salary cap. Both Seymour and fellow lineman Vince Wilfork will be up for new contracts next season. It would be difficult to sign both and maintain quality throughout the rest of the roster.

And no offense to Seymour, but I'd rather have Wilfork.

So the Patriots get a 1st round pick, and give up 1 year of Richard Seymour's services in exchange. That's not too shabby. It's a good way to extract some value out of an unfortunate situation.

The same people who hated the exits of Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri, and the same people who criticized the Matt Cassel deal, will now whine and moan. These people live in fantasy-land. They think of an NFL roster in very simple terms, and ask overly simple questions. Example: "Are the Patriots better with Richard Seymour or worse?"

Of course the Patriots are better with Seymour! But again, the NFL is real with a real cap. The Pats play in Foxborough, not Imaginationland.

And before anyone alludes to the upcoming uncapped season, remember some rules that go along with that uncappedness:

• The top eight playoff finishers from the previous season would be allowed to sign free agents only at the rate at which they lose them.

• Players would need six NFL seasons to be eligible for free agency, rather than four.

• Each team would be allowed to restrict two eligible free agents with "franchise" or "transition" player tags, rather than one.

And then there's the uncertainty of how long there would be no cap. Seymour, at 30, is not going to want just a 1 year deal. He'll want to have his long-term, 4 or 5 year cash-in deal before retirement.

I do feel bad for Seymour. Great players like him don't deserve to be Oakland Raiders. And the fans, city, and ownership of the Raiders don't deserve great players like him.

He'll be missed.

USA Today