Lockout May Have Doomed Matt Light’s Patriot Career


Pat Kirwan of NFL.com has an interesting article up about the effects of having the draft before free agency, and it brings up a very interesting aspect. With the run on offensive tackles and defensive linemen in the first round, teams are less likely to pay big money to veterans of those positions in free agency.

I think you really have to look closely at which positions flooded the first-round market and which positions didn’t to determine if the reverse order (draft before free agency) is good for the veterans. That being said, I can’t imagine any defensive ends or offensive tackles who are sitting at home hoping for a big pay day enjoyed watching the draft. Six players from each position were taken off the board in the first round, which means 12 teams are no longer looking to pay a veteran big money. If you factor in the second round, it probably means another five teams are uninterested in veteran talent at a big price.

Kirwan’s point ties directly into Matt Light and his future with the New England Patriots.

Matt Light, a Patriot and protector of Tom Brady’s blindside since 2001, is to be a free agent once the free agency period starts. Light figured to already have been re-signed by the Pats by the time the draft started, had free agency started on -schedule. It likely would have been a two- or three-year deal, not for top dollar, but for a fairly decent payday. Now, not only does it look like Light will have to take a pay cut to stay with the Pats or any other team, but he is no longer a near-certainty to return to New England and end his career. The drafting of OT Nate Solder may have been the nail in the coffin.

One has to wonder if the Pats would have utilized the same strategy on draft day and taken a tackle as high as they did, or if they would have gone for a defensive lineman or outside linebacker, had they already re-signed Light. Perhaps they would have waited and drafted one in Round 2 or 3. Either way, the players’ holdout may have hurt their own brethren. Matt Light could still re-sign with the Patriots, but it will likely not be for the money he would have gotten prior to the draft.

At what point does the “players union” feel that holding out isn’t worth it anymore? Have they reached that point?

Tags: 2011 NFL Draft Matt Light New England Patriots NFL NFL Free Agency Patriots Roster

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  • http://cheapgasguru.com Gary

    Good point. Hadn’t really considered that…. Players need to settle.
    The owners win no matter what happens. If they lift the lockout and let them play, 98% of the players lose big time. If they play by the old rules for 1 year, they’ve already lost based on points made in this article and other considerations. If they refuse to play, and there is no football, they lose bigger than ever.

    The union needs to get off their high horse and give up the idea that they have the right to see into the private matters of the owners.

    They have a solid argument that the owners opted out so prove to us why we should give something back. On principle, thats a solid argument. But in reality, it doesn’t mean crap.

    The owners will never lift up their skirts, and at some point the players need to negotiate a deal that is good for them and not make comparisons to judge the merits of a new agreement.

    It’s not a pissing contest, or at least it shouldn’t be. The owners hold all the cards. The players can be replaced, the owners can not.

    Litigation could put pressure on the owners and possibly mandate some concessions to the players, but by the time that happens, after appeals, missed games or season, ill will, lost TV revenue, lost endorsement deals, lost wages, and all the other things the players are missing out on, they come out way behind.

    Their careers are short enough already. How can they afford to be leaving money on the table like they are now? How can the afford to miss a season? They can’t. They’ve already lost more than they will gain through litigation, and fair or not, whether they like it or not, they need to negotiate the best deal they can and get back to work asap.

    They should be grateful they have the talent and opportunity to play in the NFL. They shouldn’t discount that. They shouldn’t ‘bend-over’, but they need to objectively assess the big picture and realize they have gotten to an incredible point already.

    Asking to take a step back by the owners is ok. They have taken 100 steps forward in the last 15 years without every going backwards. So now, like everything in life, like very cycle, like every progress chart you’ll ever see in your lifetime, their upward trend needs to take a step back before it can go forward again in the future.

    They are a collective band of fools being lead by a politically motivated fool who isn’t looking out for the best interests of the players, but try to settle some score in terms of ‘respect’, or ‘fairness’, or some other irrelevant emotion.

    This is business. It’s not about feeling good or looking good or meeting some moral standard. It’s about objectively looking at the situation and making the best of it.

    Their actions to date are not in their best interests as players.

    • jamie

      Excellent analysis. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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