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Diner Morning News: The Raiders' Risky Move

Michael LombardiContributor ISeptember 7, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 7: Richard Seymour #93 of the New England Patriots looks on while resting on his right knee against the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

National Football Post

QUOTE: “Never memorize what you can look up in books.” — Albert Einstein

THE BIG TRADE

Patriots-trade-Richard-Seymour-to-Raiders.html" target="_blank">The Patriots turned a player who only had 16 games left in his New England career into a first-round pick in 2011. They knew they would receive a compensatory third-rounder for Richard Seymour as they had no intention of re-signing him after the season. So instead of settling for a third, the Pats made the move now and received a future first-round pick.

I know Raiders fans will try to put a positive spin on this move, but what can it be? Seymour doesn’t have a contract after this season, so he has to be franchised. Why else pay a future first-rounder?

Is Seymour’s talent level worthy of a first-round pick? Yes and no. Yes, there are times he can be a dominating player, but too often he’s not active. This trade makes it clear that knowing when to move an older player early is something former 49ers coach Bill Walsh mastered and passed on to Bill Belichick.

I love this move for New England since it gets a pick that might be very high in 2011, and that rookie class might have some form of wage scale depending on upcoming collective bargaining talks. That pick, as one high-level NFL executive told me Sunday, might be the replacement for Tom Brady down the line.

Now New England will focus its efforts on re-signing Vince Wilfork, who is an essential player in the Pats' defensive front. With sixth-round pick Myron Pyror playing well (even getting calls from other teams checking his availability) and second-round pick Ron Brace also playing well, the Patriots seem set on their defensive line. I’m sure they’ll make a few more calls to Kevin Carter to see if he’s finally willing to come out of retirement.

As for the Hotel faithful, Seymour does bring value if the Raiders can get him to play hard every play, something that didn’t always happen in New England. Maybe the coaches or owner will find that magic touch and bring his level of play to a higher plane.

It shouldn’t surprise objective fans in the NFL that, according to people close to Seymour that I talked to, he’s less than pleased to be heading west. He never expected this move, which is a fair reaction, not a necessarily a negative reaction about Oakland.

Seymour is still talented and can still be effective, but he’s very inconsistent. He’s a flash player, and if you grade the flashes, he can be disruptive, but there are times when he’s not a factor on the field.

For this move to work, Seymour has to play at a high level, and the Raiders must re-sign him. Giving up a first-round pick for potentially only one year of a good player is not a good move, even in the eyes of diehard Raiders fans. At first, this deal was being framed around a second-rounder in 2010, but it moved to a top pick because the Raiders wanted to keep their draft alive next year.

Have the Raiders improved their team? On paper, clearly yes. Have they also taken a risky move? Again, yes, and the risk is twofold—in the contract and in getting Seymour to play at his Pro Bowl level full-time.


Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi.

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