The New England Patriots and Bill Belichick are always ahead of the curve. The Patriots stack up on draft picks giving them flexibility on draft day to move up or down and if they want to use a pick to trade for a veteran player the Pats have selections to burn.
The latest bold move by Bill Belichick took place this weekend when they moved defensive end Richard Seymour, widely regarded as one of the top DE’s in the league to the Oakland Raiders for their 2011 first round pick. I love the move. Seymour is a free agent after this season and the Pats were not going to resign him, they are going to put his money into a contract extension for defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Richard is 30 years old and on the back end of his career, it is always better to trade a player a year early than a year too late.
This is a transaction we often see in baseball and basketball, when a team has a player that is going to be a free agent, the front office trades him instead of letting the player leave during the off-season for nothing. The National Football League has trended towards more player trades the past couple of seasons. It will never be what the NBA and MLB is because of the complexity of learning the offensive/defensive schemes, but general managers are becoming more aggressive and creative with ways to improve their teams.
Tom Brady is 32 years old, in 2011 when the Pats have the Raiders first round pick, Brady will 34 years old. Belichick understands the importance of having a franchise QB and I see this Raiders pick (lock to be in the top 10) becoming the eventual replacement to Gisele’s man. The QB who the Patriots draft would be able to sit behind Brady for two years and learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step foot in an NFL stadium. At that point Brady turns 36, he retires, gets his statue in front of Gillette Stadium, and the QB of the future takes over. A smooth transition between eras all connected by the mastermind Bill Belichick.