Saturday, September 02, 2006

Normally, I don't have an issue with Borges, but...

In dealing with Branch, Patriots have dropped the ball - The Boston Globe

I think he's dead wrong on a couple of points. Unfortunately, I also think that arbitrators have a tendency to favor players in these matters when the player has a tendency to compare apples to oranges in order to make a point, which Borges does wit...

"The sides have been mum for the past week, since the team announced Branch would be given until today at 4 p.m. to work out a trade acceptable to New England at a pay level acceptable to Branch. The latter, several league sources said late last night, has been achieved, as the Patriots will learn today. As for the former, no one knows what that will take but Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli. If their trade demands are absurd (read that a first-round pick or more when Donte' Stallworth was worth only a fourth and a backup player, and Ashley Lelie cost basically a third-round pick and a short-yardage runner), what then happens to Branch?"

So, in light of the recent trades, Stallworth and Lelie are on the level of Reggie Wayne, whom Branch's agents compared him to in regards to seeking a new contract?
Stallworth's stat line for last year - 70 rec, 945 yrd, 13.5 avg, 7 TD, 43 long
Lelie's statistics last year - 42 rec, 770 yrd, 18.3 avg, 1 TD, 56 long

Wayne's stats - 83 rec, 1055 yrd, 12.7 avg, 5 TD, 66 long

Branch - 78 rec, 998 yrd, 12.8, 12.8 avg, 5 TD, 51 long.

Is he closer to Wayne than the other two - obviously, but there's a little issue he and his agent a refusing to concede - Wayne was on the verge of being an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT when he signed the new deal - as in, no time left on his contract. You can't come to the negotiating table, say that you're worth one thing, and then get pissed off when the team tries to obtain that worth in a trade.

Writes Borge's later in the article, "...the Patriots have said by its actions is not worth the money paid Reggie Wayne, Randle El, or Givens. That being the case, how do you ask for a first-round pick for him?
If you do, you look disingenuous, not to mention cheap." Except Branch's side is the one trying to set the value being that of a first round pick - now he and his agent want to whine that the Pats did not enter this in good faith because they didn't feel they got the offer of Branch's worth - I'm having a hard time digesting this.

At one point Borge's talks about relying on the tight ends for offense, "why then does it seem that the loss of David Givens and the apparent business decision to let Branch sit out for 10 weeks or be traded away over money not strike people in New England as a bit, shall we say, troubling? Because they have a big tight end who can run? So do the Kansas City Chiefs, and what good has it done them?" This is troubling to me, bacause Borges is primarily a football guy, and this is what it has done for a team with consistently one of the WORST DEFENSES over the last five years - the number one offense in the NFL with an average of 387 yd/game (Pats last year, 7th at 352) KC also averaged a point and a half more per game than the Pats did. If they had the defense the Patriots have enjoyed over the last four or five seasons, we might be talking about the three rings the Chiefs have.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Branch-basher, I just think he and his agent have handled this horribly from the beginning.

Should he win his appeal and end up on the Jets or Seattle, I really don't see catching passes from Pennington (who's likely to spend more time on his back than actually throwing the ball due to the lack of running game), or Hasselbeck (Who's still not the best decision maker out there) as being a great career move if Branch is serious about winning championships. Brady is better, more accurate QB than either of them. The only bonus to going to Seattle, is that the rest of the division is in such disarray, that there's at least a legitimate chance at maintaining the status quo in regards to his personal stats.

Next up - the next chapter in my pre-season predictions.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but you are a Branch basher and brain-washed Patriots' toadie. Patriots will win ZERO (big fat zero) championships with Belichick running the offence, offesive genuis he is not. He is the defensive genius, no questions about it, and he understands offences really well. What he does not get is that understanding offences is not the same as building them. His offensive roster management over the last two offseasons, Denver debacle and his track record in Cleveland is all you need to look at. No matter how good a QB is, it takes a long time to develop timing and relationships with receivers. If you think of a great QB, there is always a long time, great receiver workng with him. What Belichick has done in the last two offseason is got rid of ALL Brady's receivers except Try Brown, whose only goal is to get those 20 catches to set Patriots record. By the way, Branch offered to play out the season if Patriots don't franchise him. Seahawks did this to Shaun Alexander last year and he responded really well. So, what is the Patriots' point? I can tell you - the contract they offered him is a joke, which would payed him less then if he isi franchised next year, so they have no intention on keeping him. All the want is to get as much compensation as possible by traiding him. This is why they refuse to promise not to franchise him. Now they are waiting until season starts and one of the teams loses its #1 receiver (L. Cole, Jets?). Then they will trade Branch for first rounder. A bunch of old misers that got lucky with Charlie Weis/Romeo Crenel and will never win anything again. LOL.

Kevin Smith said...

Of course the year he won his first Super Bowl his top wide receiver - Troy Brown, who was considered by scouts around the league to be no better than a slot receiver coming in on third downs. Number two? The undrafted David Patten who couldn't hang on as the fifth receiver on the Giants - signed by the man that can't build an Offense - Belichick. The primary pass catching tight-end, Jermaine Wiggins, a New York Jets cast-off picked up mid season.
Amongst the other signings Belichick was knocked for that year - Antowain Smith.
His starting QB for the bulk of that year, Brady, who, of course, never worked with Patten before that preseason and certainly, with Bledsoe there, was not getting the lions share of the snaps early in the season in order to develop the over-rated concept of chemistry with the new wide receivers.
Branch has put up one season with legitimate number one receiver numbers and has missed significant portions of his first three seasons due to injury. I don't know about you, but if I go out and spend a lot of money on a car, I don't expect it to be in the shop 30 percent of the time every year. If he had put up solid numbers every year without injury, I would say pay him, but he hasn't earned the contract the Jets and Seahawks are offering, and players don't decide what's fair compensation in the trade market.
Thanks for the feedback, I

CATUPU said...

Kevin, Basking in the defeat of the Vikings today I came upon your column and find you informed and insightful. Borges will keep the attacks on Belichick, as will the anonymous fan just posted for whatever jealous reasons. I will miss Branch dearly, but this season ticket holder will enjoy the genius Belichick ride for as long as it lasts. GO PATS!