Former Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour has been rewarded by the Oakland Raiders with a brand-new two-year, $30 million deal, according to NFL.com’s Jason LaConfora. His average of $15 million per season makes him the highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL on a per year basis. Last season, Seymour recorded 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks, which is the second-highest total of his career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, the sixth such honor of his career.
The Patriots dealt Seymour two years ago to Oakland for the Raiders’ first round draft pick this year, which is #17 overall. Knowing Seymour’s production, the concerns on defense, and the placement of the Oakland’s draft pick, would the Patriots still pull the trigger on this trade?
The full extent of the balance of this trade will not be complete until the Patriots make their selection and we see what production they get from that player. As of right now, it certainly seems like the Raiders got the upper hand in this trade. The Pats have had issues with their pass rush and depth along the defensive line, mostly due to injuries. Having Seymour still in the lineup would have been a tremendous help to the team this past season, especially with bringing along the younger players.
Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston had a great point-of-view on the trade in response to a reader’s question. This was before news broke about Seymour’s new deal.
“…my sense is that the Patriots would have held off on the deal, tried to extend Vince Wilfork earlier, and then maybe used the franchise tag on Seymour in 2010 (instead of Wilfork). I think part of the reason they traded Seymour is that they envisioned him as a one-and-done player — likely to sign elsewhere in 2010 — so they figured they’d get something for him while they could.”
I couldn’t agree more. It seems as though the Pats not being proactive enough in re-signing their marquee, in-house players is coming back to bite them. They could have had Asante Samuel cheaper than he ended up being when he left for the Eagles, re-upping Wilfork sooner would have likely come cheaper as well, and perhaps the team would not be facing the current stand-off with Logan Mankins had they tried re-signing him a couple of years ago when he started showing he was a dominant force on the line.
With so many young players from the last two drafts, the inevitable is bound to happen unless the Patriots become more proactive in keeping players: all of the contracts will expire around the same time. The strong nucleus the team is building will disintegrate if they lose those young players. A good place to start would be Jerod Mayo as he gets nearer to the end of his deal in 2012. That would be a huge loss to this team, especially after having so many issues at linebacker recently.
Will the Pats learn from recent history? Time will tell.