It is becoming increasing clear that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to shopping. Simply put, this guy can’t buy anything if he feels there is a better deal out there. So forget instant gratification. And forget paying retail. Because when Bill Belichick is calling the shots, it is all about getting the best “deal.” In this respect, he would make a great trophy wife.
Last night, BB was at it again, sitting at #28 with an opportunity to get a Heisman winner or a big defender with playmaking potential. He takes the former and the Pats are perhaps set up with the best air-ground attack since Operation Desert Storm. And if he goes with the defender, the Pats might see a critically needed uptick in the play of their front seven. So what does he do?
Well, rather than buy either, Belichick decided to keep shopping and sent the pick to NOLA. In exchange, the Pats picked up the Saints second rounder this year and their first rounder in 2012. In essence, the Pats traded a year for an extra second rounder, with the caveat that they also now own a call option on any NOLA underperformance in 2011. By that I mean … if Drew Brees breaks his hand, the Pats just picked up the number eight pick in the next year’s draft.
To explain this trade a bit better, you should know that there is a card that NFL teams use to guide their draft trades. It basically assigns a value to each pick in the draft and ordinarily, trades generally don’t end in great mismatches. In this instance, however, the trade looks awfully good for the Pats. A two-run single if Brees stays healthy and a home run if he misses twelve games with a concussion.
Despite what the card says, I am looking around the chats this morning and it seems that three-quarters of Patriot fans are upset with the trade. And I don’t blame them. Shit, I wanted the Pats to go all in this year and go for elite talents. Not stock the cupboard for next year and throw three more second-round darts.
But Belichick is a stubborn man and he LOVES the second round. Evidently, he likes the fact that the signing bonuses are lower. He thinks the talent is nearly equal with that in the first. And most importantly, I think he gets off on the idea of hustling teams that are impulse shoppers.
The problem here, at least in my eyes, is Belichick seems more interested in hoarding picks than making picks. And each year, this means the same Belichickian refrain … “we didn’t see much value here so we spun the pick into the future.”
And I don’t mind when that happens in the third round. I am on record saying I love those trades where BB converts a third rounder in the present year for a second rounder the next. The Pats have the luxury of being able to wait for these trades to release value and I am all for that.
But if the Pats have a fault it is they lack game changers. And as much as Belichick might argue differently, the chance of stumbling on a game changer is much higher in the first round than the second. Sorry, but that is a fact .
Now over a five year period, BB’s strategy will usually work out as he is coming up with extra picks and relatively high ones at that. And in this instance, BB probably did the smart thing by trading down. But boy, I was looking forward to the possibility of arming Brady with a big running game or a pass rusher. And having NOLA’s pick next April will hardly be much comfort if the Pats 2011 season ends next January because he was missing both.