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ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli reported last week that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Oakland’s Derrick Burgess traded to the Patriots before training camp started. With camp about one week away, a move would definitely be subtle. It wasn’t too long ago, if you remember, that the Patriots contacted Al Davis and the Raiders in hopes of acquiring the pass rushing specialist. After days of talks between both sides, the Patriots interest regressed after Davis “reportedly” asked for Sebastian Volmer, Kevin O’Connell, and a late draft choice in exchange for the 30-year-old Burgess.
Now, as the season is approaching, Davis finds himself in an awkward situation. If everything currently stays the way it is, Burgess would be the third defensive end who would probably see the field about 15% of the time. The problem? Well the Raiders would be paying Burgess $3.5 million to do essentially nothing. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Davis ate a players contract throughout his adventurous years as a general manager.
We are talking about the guy who gave D’Angelo Hall a $72 million contract over eight years, and then released him mid-season of that same year. We’re also talking about the guy who, not too long ago, traded a player by the name of Randy Moss to the Patriots in exchange for a measly fourth round draft choice.
Davis was embarrassed by the Moss trade. He even went out and said that the Patriots tampered, just to gain some type of personnel pleasure from a trade that may be considered one of the most lopsided in the history of the NFL. To Davis’ defense, Moss simply wasn’t going to play for Oakland in 2007, so one could say that he HAD to trade the disgruntled wide receiver.
Anyway, back to this trade. After the draft, when both teams discussed the possibility of a trade, Davis came out with that plainly idiotic trade offer. Would it make any sense for a team to trade a player they just drafted in the second round and a very promising quarterback for an aging pass rusher? Obviously not. My guess is that the Patriots offered a third round pick and Davis shrugged the offer aside. When in reality, the compensation, a third round pick, seems very fair when looking at what Burgess has left in the tank.
Now, we fast forward a couple of months and Davis hasn’t done anything about the Burgess situation. Does he think (for a change) and realize that having Burgess on the Raiders roster will only hurt the team? Probably not. But by Pasquarelli mentioning this possible deal, it does make me think a little bit.
For the Patriots, adding Burgess makes too much sense. Last time I checked there is a huge vacancy at the outside linebacker spot. If the season were to start tomorrow, it would appear that second-year man Shawn Crable would be starting opposite Adalius Thomas. That’s a lot to ask from a player that missed basically his entire rookie season. We know that the Patriots haven’t been shy is kicking the tires with some players. Jason Taylor was a player the Patriots seemed to welcome, Willie McGinest continues to lobby to come back to New England, and now the re-born talks about Burgess. Either way, the Patriots will need to upgrade the position before September rolls around. With three second round picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Patriots would be wise to use one of them to acquire a 3-4 pass rushing player.
Who knows, maybe Davis will budge if the Patriots part ways with a second rounder.
But, at the end of the day, this whole ordeal comes down to one man and his stubborness: Al Davis. Clearly a move needs to be made in Oakland, but this could be another example of Davis’ blindness to good football management.