Patriots

Patriots still reaping rewards from Seymour deal

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Patriots still reaping rewards from Seymour deal

It was September 6, 2009 – the last Sunday without football. Perfect day. I was walking with a bucket of baseballs in my hand and my three sons in front of me. We were going to hit.

And then we weren’t. My cell phone rang. The Patriots had traded Richard Seymour to the Raiders.

“Are you s******* me?!”

Not only had Bill Belichick harpooned my last free Sunday, he’d pawned off a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Seymour joined Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi on the list of great Patriots who’d been shown the door or chosen to retire in the preceding five months.

“Everybody back in the car, Dad’s gotta do some work.”

Seems so long ago. The oldest of my three sons is just finishing his freshman year of college. The other two are 16 and 17. They were 13, 11 and 10 when Belichick dealt the 29-year-old Seymour.

What’s really interesting is that, all these years later, the Patriots aren’t close to done enjoying the rewards of that trade because of the direct compensation they got for Seymour and the freedom the extra first-rounder afforded them.

The direct compensation from the Raiders – Oakland’s first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft (which turned out to be the 17th overall) – was spent on Nate Solder.

Solder’s entering his fifth NFL season and hasn’t missed a game.

But the ripple effect from that deal is really where the Patriots cleaned up. During the 2011 draft, the Patriots dealt their own first-round pick – the 28th overall selection – to the Saints in exchange for the Saints first-rounder in 2012 and a second-rounder, the 56th overall pick.

Had the Patriots not made the Seymour deal, they wouldn’t have had just that 28th pick and probably wouldn’t have been inclined to deal out of the first round. But they did and with the 56th pick they took Shane Vereen.

The Saints first-rounder in 2012 wound up being the 27th overall pick so entering the 2012 draft, the Pats had the 27th and 31st overall picks.

Not for long. First, the Patriots swung a deal with Cincinnati to move up to 21 by sending the Bengals the 27th overall pick and a third-rounder (93 overall). The Patriots took Chandler Jones with the 21st pick.

The Patriots then packaged their own pick with a fourth-rounder to move up six spots and select Donta Hightower. The ripple from Seymour on that trade and selection isn’t very large. But you still have to project that entering that draft with two first-rounders allowed them an aggressive first-round mindset if the board went their way.

And it did.

Over the course of Seymour’s four seasons in Oakland, the Raiders went 25-38. Seymour hauled in more than $40M in salary and bonuses. He played 53 games.

There were plenty of people who didn’t love the trade at the time. Our very own Mike Felger hated it two years later when Solder was in the first few games of his career.

“After two years, you can really gauge whether this was a good trade or not,” Felger said in October of 2011. “You can tell how they played in his absence, what they got in return and how it all played out since then and looking at it like that, two years later, how can anyone say that this was a great trade and worked out the way you wanted it to work out?”

Felger was also concerned about two years of Tom Brady’s “prime” being spent without Seymour.

The Patriots went to the Super Bowl at the end of that season and played in the AFC Championship in 2012 and 2013, losing to Baltimore and Denver before breaking through in January against the Colts and beating the Seahawks in February.  

Dealing Seymour in 2009 for a 2011 first-rounder was a tacit admission by the Patriots that they were starting to rebuild, and that’s the way that season played out. It was probably the most dysfunctional team of Belichick’s tenure in New England.

So judging the deal then or a few weeks into the career of Nate Solder was waaaaay premature. Now, though, you can see the full scope of what trading Seymour brought. How can anyone say that wasn’t a great trade and that it worked out really well?

Tom Brady had a great retort for 'Madden NFL 20' over high-five snub

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USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady had a great retort for 'Madden NFL 20' over high-five snub

Tom Brady's social media game hasn't lost a step this offseason.

EA Sports released a teaser video for its "Madden NFL 20" video game that incredibly featured footage of the New England Patriots quarterback getting snubbed on a high-five attempt.

That's a pretty savage move ... and one that didn't go unnoticed by Brady, who fired back the perfect retort on his Instagram story.

Well played, Tom.

The "Madden Curse" used to be a real thing, as players like Rob Gronkowski and Peyton Hillis either got hurt or fell into obscurity after gracing the "Madden" cover. (Yes, Peyton Hillis was on a "Madden" cover.)

But Brady smashed the curse in 2017, winning NFL MVP honors after landing on the "Madden NFL 18" cover.

The 41-year-old QB also left a zinger for EA Sports in the Instagram comment section, where teammate Julian Edelman came to his defense, as well.

This is the second day in a row Brady has fired off a Madden-related barb on social media, so if you're going to take a shot at the GOAT, be prepared for battle.

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Report: 40% chance of Rob Gronkowski 'unretirement'

Report: 40% chance of Rob Gronkowski 'unretirement'

Rob Gronkowski and Brett Favre don't have much in common...yet. 

Pro Football Talk reporter Mike Florio compared the two on Tuesday after a source close to the retired tight end told Florio there's a 40% chance of Gronkowski coming back in 2019. Florio noted that a possible appeal from Tom Brady and an itch to get back to playing football could eventually sway Gronkowski out of retirement. Florio also speculates that Gronkowski may come back for the "good stuff," the end of the season and playoffs.

"For now, Gronk isn’t thinking about football," Florio writes. "He’s enjoying his life, he doesn’t need the money, and he’s having a blast. The question becomes whether Gronkowski misses his teammates and/or the games after August becomes September. While he won’t miss dealing with training camp and the preseason, he could miss the game once they start playing games that count."

Since retiring from the NFL, Gronkowski has posted cryptic messages about coming back on social media, chatted up Drew Brees at the ESPYs about apparently coming back, and caught passes from Tom Brady at UCLA, fueling comeback speculation. 

Separately, sources have told Florio that New England head coach Bill Belichick has been supportive of Gronkowski, and has developed a softer, more "player-friendly" approach as his Super Bowl rings pile up. 

Still, until Gronkowski decides definitively one way or another, the Brett Favre-esque retire-unretire speculation will continue. 

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