Saturday, September 02, 2006
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 here...to 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.
Posted by Kevin Smith at Saturday, September 02, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
BostonHerald.com - Boston Red Sox: Sox: Lester has treatable form of lymphoma
A week ago the Red Sox season had gone to hell.
This week it's gone to hell in a handbasket and the crash and burn of the Red Sox seems somehow insignifigant after the news of heart problems for David Ortiz, and more importantly, the lymphoma that 22-year old Sox Southpaw John Lester has been diagnosed with.
The Sox still have a legitimate shot at the post season - and if they make a run, sure, I'm going to root - but somehow, if they don't make it, I won't be terribly crushed this year - it just doesn't seem that important.
Posted by Kevin Smith at Friday, September 01, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
On the verge of a new season of football, it is time for me to make my season predictions...
First - the NFC -
NFC East - I'm not convinced that this division is going to be the powerhouse that many of the other sports writers seem to believe it will be. I do think that the division is up for grabs, not because all the teams are powerful, but because all the teams are at about the same level of mediocrity - The Eagles don't seem to believe in a balanced offense, Eli Manning looks like he's picking up where he left off at the end of last season as opposed to the beginning of it, the Skins have looked pretty bad on both sides of the ball, and the TO thing already looks like it is in danger of blowing up in Dallas.
1st - Cowboys - Assuming Jerry Jones is going to be smart enough and cut his losses and release Terrible Owens before he becomes a problem for the whole team. Terry Glenn looked pretty much like a legitimate number one in the preseason contests I've seen, and Owens is more likely to become a bigger problem after today's fine.
2nd - Eagles - Honestly, in this division, I think I can fill in almost anyone here. I don't trust any team that throws the ball on average more than 70 percent of the time, but I haven't liked what I've seen from anyone else in the division this preseason.
3rd - Giants - With Eli Manning looking like he's backsliding and a defense not living up to the hype, this crew looks like it's not going to pick up where it left off last year.
4th - Redskins - I can't, in good conscience pick a team to win that would have trouble stopping any half-decent passing game. Hell, the Patriots don't even have a number one receiver and they still smoked the Skins 41-0.
Next - The NFC North...
Posted by Kevin Smith at Sunday, August 27, 2006