Monday, September 11, 2006

Deion gone; Branch to Seattle for pick

The Pats will miss Branch's athleticism & speed

Word came over the wire a short time ago that the Patriots have traded WR Deion Branch, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX, to the Seattle Seahawks for a first round pick in the 2007 draft.
This comes a day after the Seahawks managed only 3 field goals in squeaking by Detroit, and New England started the unimposing duo of 47 year-old Troy Brown and Reche This ain't the Swamp anymore Caldwell
, who combined for a whopping 51 yards receiving. So Brady will have to rely heavily on TE's Big Ben Watson & Daniel Graham and injured Chad Jackson & Doug Gabriel. In other words the Patriot's equivalent of Coco Crisp.

Look it's well known in the Commonwealth that The Pats like to out-do the darlings of New England, the Red Sox. This is clearly a case of the Patriot brass, namely Coach Belichick, who we know would not have allowed Branch to be traded without his approval, attempting to copy the Sox' power play on Judas Demon last offseason. I mean it's eerie how similar the situations are:
Both players felt they were worth more money than the hometown team was willing to pay, the difference being that Demon was a free agent and Branch still had 1 more year left on his contract. Both received "token offers" from their teams, but felt the deals were well below what they were worth on the open market. The players went out and found suitors willing to pay plenty more than the locals, the home team declined to budge on their initial offers and
the player said bye-bye on a money train as management was left scratching their heads, biting their lips and praying the moves don't come back to haunt them.
Well we already saw the Sox decision come back to bite 'em when Judas & the Stanks blew into town in early July: Demon went on a base-circling frenzy, igniting his new mates to a 5 game torching of the Sox that disintegrated their playoff hopes, infuriated the Nation, and humiliated the front office. We'll see if Deion comes back to haunt his old team: if so, it would have to be in the playoffs (of course).

Now we have Situation #2. Who was wrong in this impasse, Branch for wanting to renegotiate before his contract was up? Or the front office for placing more value on their system than their players? Hard to say for sure. Both sides have valid points: as a Super Bowl MVP and a lock for a 1,000 yd season in the right system with great speed, hands & strength Branch was seriously underpaid at $1 mil; he'll be making $6.5 mil annually with a $13 mil bonus w/ Seattle. But he knew that New England has a policy for not re-negotiating in the middle of contracts, a rule they quietly waived when re-upping Tom Terrific.

Basically Deion Branch and Seattle won on this deal, and Pats fans are left scratching their heads as a man who was so integral in helping the team win a Championship was allowed to walk out of town for purely cash reasons. Sound familiar?

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