By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff
In what can only be described as a bombshell, the Patriots this morning traded five time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders for a first round pick in 2011.
My initial thought upon hearing this move what that perhaps the team is ready to make a move towards getting Vince Wilfork locked into a contract extension, though now I’m not sure the two thing have anything to do with each other.
The Patriots were likely going to lose Seymour following this season as he was slated to be a free agent, and it didn’t seem that the team was anxious to get anything done. Getting a first round pick from a team that looks to still be a ways away from contending seems like good value.
What does it mean for this season though? The Patriots seem to have been pleased with what they saw from rookies Myron Pryor and Ron Brace in the preseason, and with Jarvis Green and Mike Wright also around, depth on the defensive line alongside Wilfork and Ty Warren still seems a strength.
The team has experimented with a 4-3 alignment in the preseason, and could use Derrick Burgess and Tully Banta-Cain could be used as ends in that formation.
But will it be enough for a defense that already had enough question marks coming into the season? The D-Line was the unquestioned strength of the defense. Now, just like all other areas of the unit, there are some questions.
It also means that this offseason, the Patriots have lost Super Bowl Champions Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and now Seymour. That’s a lot of Super Bowl experience that is no longer here.
Is another move forthcoming? The extension for Wilfork? Is the cap space going to be used on a veteran backup QB? Christopher Price on WEEI.com reports that the Patriots have come to terms with former Steelers guard Kendall Simmons. That move, along with the move yesterday to get blocking tight end Michael Matthews would seem to have the Patriots addressing something Karen Guregian mentioned this morning…the need to keep Tom Brady protected.
I’m actually out in the Oakland area this morning, and as always I’m surprised at the difference in sports coverage. While in Boston, I see that the local papers and outlets are all over this move, here in the Bay Area, there isn’t much posted as of yet, just a couple of mentions in Raider blogs. At InsideBayArea.com, Jerry McDonald posts about the trade, with a lot of Raiders fans jumping into the comments. Most are excited, though some are afraid that the Patriots have outsmarted Al Davis and the Raiders again. On SFGate (The SF Chronicle) David White seems more concerned about who is going to be released from the Raiders loaded roster to make room for Seymour.