"But that didn't make up for the fact that the Pats bollixed up that first pick like amateurs." – Boston Herald, 04/25/05 (on Mankins pick)
It continually amazes me how much Bill Belichick and the Patriots get mocked and criticized by the media and fans, yet continue to win around 80% of their games. Criticized for the Mankins pick, and now criticized for the Mankins trade. How could you draft this guy there? becomes How could you trade this franchise cornerstone?
Time after time, the local media is critical of a pick, trade, cut or other decision, to the point of being insulting, and time and again they are proven wrong. Does the media ever look back and say, “Wow, I really bollixed up that analysis?” Rarely, if ever. Granted, this is mostly being done by sports radio hosts, the national media and know-nothing local “columnists” relegated to posting videos in their bathrobes, but this influence is out there. On the beat, you’ll hear a lot of talk about the “heartless, unsentimental” coach.
On Twitter yesterday it sure seemed to me that more people were pissed off that the Patriots had acquired another Rutgers player than they were that the team had traded away Mankins. Because that Rutgers “obsession” has really cost the Patriots dearly.
The fact is, this is Belichick and the Patriots getting out a year early rather than a year too late. They’ve done it numerous times. Milloy, Seymour, Warren, Moss, Welker, now Mankins. Each time there has been uproar, and each time the team has largely been proven correct. Has anyone locally pointed out that Danny Amendola will likely be playing meaningful football this season while Wes Welker ponders his future after yet another concussion? Does anyone bother pointing out that with the Seymour trade, the Patriots selected Nate Solder who plays the most important part of the offensive line and does it well? If Tim Wright comes in and duplicates or exceeds what he did last season will anyone acknowledge it?
It’s laughable when I hear columnists or radio hosts cry that the entire local media is in the bag for Belichick and the Patriots. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I heard and read so many laments about losing Mankins when it is so important to keep Tom Brady upright. Was anyone paying attention when Mankins gave up double-digit sacks last year? Or what about perhaps the most important play of the season last year?
Logan Mankins is a beast, and I loved having him on the team. He definitely set the tone, he took no crap from trash-talking opponents, and always came to the defense of his teammates. Will they miss him?
Will they be OK without him? I think so.
Compare and contrast:
Belichick Sells High – Greg Bedard talks sense.
Patriots just aren’t sentimental – Ben Volin, Bedard’s replacement at the Globe, talks no sense.
But winning and turning a profit are 1 and 1A for the front office, and Mankins’s value to the team just didn’t quite match his bloated salary for this year ($6.25 million). Most teams let their aging stars ride off into the sunset, but that doesn’t fly around here, not with Tom Brady’s clock ticking and the need for another championship growing more desperate each season.
Man, where do we even begin to rip this apart?
So Belichick cares about saving the franchise money? He cares about having the team in the best financial shape under the salary cap, which is entirely different from “turning a profit.” Most teams let their aging stars ride off into the sunset? Could we have some specific examples here?
Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, James Harrison, Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor, Fred Taylor, Ryan Clark, Steve McNair, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck, DeMarcus Ware, Champ Bailey.
All of those aging stars surely appreciated their longtime teams allowing them to ride off into the sunset.