It's official. Any and all "what should the Patriots do?" conversations are a waste of time. Bill Belichick's going to do what he's going to do and we're going to like it.
I don't have any exact metrics for how many Patriots fans wanted the Pats to sign Antonio Brown vs. how many didn't. We can only go off the various social media polls offered as the country watched the final crazy days of the AB-in-Oakland experiment crash and burn in ways none of us could imagine.
And those polls looked like this:
(Even that 51-49 count is skewed, as the poll has remained open since the Patriots signed Brown.)
Then the Patriots got AB, and the polls looked like this:
We don't have any conviction. There's "In Belichick (The GM) We Trust" and there's "I don't trust myself to lean one way or the other because no matter what I think, it disintegrates the second Belichick acts to the contrary."
Please understand this isn't preaching; I didn't want Brown either, but now that the Pats have him, I'm assuming it's going to work. We're all sheep in the same herd just following a GOAT.
But we were warranted to feel the way we felt, which at least for me was this: Antonio Brown is bad news. He isn't Randy Moss, a guy who was younger than AB is now when he came to the Pats and took a massive pay cut to do so. Moss was a bad seed with the Raiders, but you could explain it away by him being in a rotten situation in Oakland for two years. Make no mistake, the current Raiders are a mess, but the bleep-show we just saw unfold was all AB.
The Pats got Moss (and Corey Dillion three years earlier) at or just before the draft, months removed from any bad juju we'd seen with their respective clubs. The Patriots signed Brown *one day* after he posted a recording of his coach. This guy is a whole other level from the reclamation projects have attempted.
And from a cost standpoint, this is more Dillon than it is Moss, as the Pats paid a second-round pick for an aging running back when they made that swap with the Bengals. The Patriots are giving Brown up to $15 million ($9 million of which is guaranteed) for 15 games this season. That would be far more than Julian Edelman, and while Brown is a far superior player, the money shows the Pats are hardly considering this a flier. They're paying Brown to be a star, not a fixer-upper.
If Brown is even remotely professional and does that horrible thing Jon Gruden asked him to do on the phone call (play football), the Pats will win the Super Bowl, which I'm pretty sure they were going to do even without him. Score one for "we shouldn't have opinions on these things until we see which one Belichick picks."
But is there anything Belichick the GM could do that Pats fans wouldn't accept? The Lawyer Milloy thing was before they'd won multiple Super Bowls. Law, Seymour, paying Amendola instead of Welker, paying Gilmore instead of Butler, the list goes on. It's all good.
But what happens at the end of the season, when Tom Brady's a free agent? What if Belichick plays hardball to the point Brady signs elsewhere, or -- and I think we're sleeping on this one far too much -- says that it's too late to offer him market value after years of underpaying him?
That's where the rubber would really meet the road with "In Belichick (The GM) We Trust." Right now, there shouldn't be a Pats fan on the planet who would accept a Brady departure. After how quickly we changed our tune with Antonio Brown, I feel like Stidham jerseys could become a best-seller.
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