The New England Patriots have the reputation as the NFL franchise, even though the Dallas Cowboys are America’s team. Their reputation has survived the ‘Spygate’ scandal, and to those who think it was no big deal, I would like to point out that they haven’t beat a Manning in the playoffs since they stopped taping, including 2 Superbowl losses to Eli Manning and the New York Giants. But this isn’t about ‘Spygate’. Has anyone noticed how the Patriots destroy the careers of players they don’t want to pay?
Wes Welker is the latest victim. He wanted a long-term deal in the offseason, but he didn’t get it and settled for the 1 year franchise tender for $9.5 million. Welker reported to camp, although he hinted he wouldn’t, and by all accounts seemed to be his usual self getting ready for a big season in a contract year. But there is a slight problem, the Patriots didn’t even start him in week 2. Despite the fact that he had been the focal point of the offense on teams that made the Superbowl, it took an injury to Aaron Hernandez for him to get any targets.
The story is that Julian Edelman had a better week in practice than Welker, which is why he started over him, but if they thought that Edelman was comparable to Welker then why did they designate Welker with the franchise tag? They could have definitely used more money on their defense because they still need help on that side of the ball. It seems that they kept him around to lower his value. He isn’t going to be able to prove himself to another team if he isn’t getting to play and isn’t getting thrown the ball. The irony is that the Patriots are a better team with Welker playing a big role, but that doesn’t matter because the Patriots have done this before. This is beginning to be a trend, people are taking notice now because Welker has a reputation as a good team player, but it is eerily similar to how Randy Moss left New England.
Randy Moss had the greatest season ever by a receiver in New England. The Patriots had an undefeated regular season but no Superbowl title. It seemed like no one could stop the Brady to Moss deep ball, but all of a sudden the Patriots wanted to change their offense. They began to faze Moss out of the offense, but he didn’t go quietly. Moss got into an altercation with the offensive coordinator and he was eventually traded. That set forth a chain of events that had Moss out of the league last year.
I am happy that Randy got back because he never really lost it. Even at the end of his Patriots career he responded when Darrell Revis called him out, and he burned him one time on the deep ball to let him know what the business was. But once he was labeled as an attitude, teams wanted to see him doing the little things, but that’s not Randy Moss. Why should he have to go across the middle when no one could stop the deep ball? One of the greatest receivers of all time was relegated to a blocking decoy. I wonder if he ever really lost it, or did the Patriots make us think that he lost it? It’s not far fetched to think that the Patriots are that vindictive. Look at the stories that came out after they let Chad Johnson go. He wasn’t smart enough to grasp the offense, but what makes their offense so complex? There has to be some level of intelligence to just play in the NFl, so I don’t buy that. But you only need to look at their defense to see how vindictive the Patriots really are.
Bill Belichick is supposed to be a defensive genius, but you wouldn’t know it by the Patriots defense over the last few years. The Patriots used to have stellar defenses, until they got rid of Richard Seymour. Seymour began mentioning wanting more money and they traded him to the Raiders. Seymour didn’t want to go, as there was a rumor he considered not reporting, but there was too much money at stake and he had to report. The Patriots got draft picks, but they never replaced Seymour, which is why their defense struggles to this day. Seymour has made the Raiders respectable, but they have no quarterback, so he is doing his thing in obscurity. I know it has to be hard losing when you are accustomed to winning. In my opinion, there is no doubt that the Patriots traded him there as punishment. At the time Raiders owner, Al Davis, was aging and there was question whether he was even competent enough to run a NFL franchise, so it was a pretty safe bet that the Raiders would be bad with no hope of getting better. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots deal with Tom Brady. It may seem blasphemous now, but they drafted Ryan Mallet for a reason. In the next few years it will be time for Brady to go and I wonder if they will try to defame him like they have with the other players who have been instrumental in their success.