New England Patriots
The game is still about an hour away, but the inactive lists are out. Lets take a closer look at who’s not available this week for both teams:
Seahawks Inactives: WR Charly Martin, SS Winston Guy, CB Danny Gorrer, CB Jeremy Lane, DT Clinton McDonald, DT Jaye Howard.
Having both McDonald, who’s the nickel DT who gives Brandon Mebane the occational breather, and Howard, who’s next in line on the depth chart in that same roll, is a big issue for the Seahawks. Mebane is dominant when kept fresh, but tends to wear down fairly quickly. Look for the Seahawks to use DE Greg Scruggs at DT in this game to help make sure Mebane gets a chance to rest.
You might also notice that the Seahawks have 3 defensive backs on the inactives list. Many people thought Danny Gorrer would get significant playing time in this game since he’s a better matchup against Wes Welker than Marcus Trufant is. Also, not having Winston Guy could be costly, since it limits the ability of the Seahawks to use the bandit formation in situations that aren’t obvious passing situations.
Patriots Inactives: DE Jake Bequette, SS Steve Gregory, WR Julian Edelman, OLB Dont’a Hightower, OLB Tracy White, TE Michael Hoomanawanui.
There’s an important name not on the list. TE Aaron Hernandez is back, which gives the Patriots one of the best TE receiving threats. It is unclear if he’s 100%, but even at 80% he’s damn good, and will make the Patriots offense tougher to contain.
Not having Edelman hurts, as he’s the only real slot receiver on the Patriots besides Welker, but it doesn’t hurt that much as he was unlikely to get much playing time considering their reliance on TEs and the fact that Hernandez is back.
The real problem for the Patriots is the loss of Hightower. The Patriots aren’t exactly deep at LB, as the talent level drops off pretty quick after the starters. This is especially tough on the Patriots this week as White, Hightower’s backup, is also out. The Patriots will be on their third string outside linebacker on the weak side, which is never good against a runner like Marshawn Lynch.
After 1 round, some pretty clear round 1 winners and losers have emerged. While these evaluations could change by the end of the draft, here how they stand right now.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings were able to move … [visit site to read more]
Yesterday, the Seattle Seahawks traded wide receiver Deion Branch to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round pick. Not a conditional late-round pick or garbage compensation, but a fourth-round pick.
What a coup for General Manager John Schneider and Seattle’s front office.
When the Deion Branch-to-New England rumors first started, it was assumed Seattle would receive no more than a late-round pick in any trade. Considering Randy Moss was just acquired by the Minnesota Vikings for a third-round pick, anything more than a sixth- or seventh-round pick would be ludicrous; Moss dwarves Branch in career accomplishments, late-career potential, physical size, overall skills.
Seattle’s incentive to trade Branch was to get the younger receivers more opportunity to play. Branch hasn’t been dominating or overly effective, so his exit only means players like Deon Butler and Golden Tate will receive additional opportunities on the field.
Like Houshmandzadeh’s departure, this deal is like addition by subtraction for the Seahawks.
In any trade for Deion Branch, it was obvious Seattle was going to try and recoup third- and fourth-round picks lost when the team acquired Charlie Whitehurst and Marshawn Lynch in separate deals.
When the rumors first started, a fourth-round pick or higher seemed ridiculous. The best the team could possibly hope for would be a conditional late-round pick that could become a fourth- or fifth-round pick based on player performance.
To obtain a fourth-round pick, it was assumed the Seahawks would undoubtedly need to include one of their own late-round picks with Deion Branch to make any deal attractive.
Instead, Seattle waited for a deal they wanted, in no rush to move Deion Branch without adequate compensation. When New England cooled on Branch, it was reported that the Seahawks were reaching out to other potential trading partners.
The Seattle Seahawks and John Schneider played this scenario like a genius.
The fourth-round pick won’t compensate for the first-round pick lost several years ago when Seattle acquired Branch, but these are separate deals. They cannot be compared with each other; Seattle probably overpaid to add a proven receiver to a competing playoff team, and New England slightly overpaid for much-needed veteran leadership and depth at the position.
I wish Deion Branch the best of luck in New England. In Seattle, he was often the recipient of harsh criticism – some warranted, some not.
In Seattle, he rarely impressed in the box score and never dominated opposing players, but Branch had never done that in his career prior to arriving in the Northwest.
In New England, he never started sixteen games in one season or compiled 1,000 receiving yards. He never caught double-digit touchdowns or over 100 passes in a single season. But he was a proven winner, excelled when games mattered most, and was a decent acquisition for the Seahawks when they were a real competitor in the NFC every season.
Markets change. Value changes. Players depreciate as they get older, just like any other asset. Seattle wasn’t going to get a first-round pick or anything close in return for Deion Branch. They did get a fourth-round pick, however, and kudos to John Schneider and the front office for pulling off such a magnificent deal for a franchise desperately needing draft stock.
Even though they’re separate deals, I suppose one could say the Seahawks swapped Deion Branch in exchange for running back Marshawn Lynch (both acquired for fourth-round picks). Lynch is only 24 years old and a former first-round pick – drafted the same year Branch was traded to Seattle.
Of course, you should never compare separate deals. But if wounds from 2007 have yet to heal, feel free to pretend the Seahawks never acquired Deion Branch and drafted Marshawn Lynch.
Tags: Deion Branch, Deon Butler, football, Golden Tate, John Schneider, Marshawn Lynch, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, nfl, NFL Draft, Opinion, Randy Moss, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, trade, wide receiver
If you haven’t heard by now, there are several trade rumors involving the Seattle Seahawks and wide receiver Deion Branch.
The rumors surfaced following speculation from the Boston Herald, and continue today — although recent reports suggest any trade talks are preliminary and nothing more.
Ian Rapoport, a beat writer for the Boston Herald who covers the New England Patriots, fueled speculation earlier this morning via Twitter:
Patriots always in discussions with teams. Considering they lost a WR, that’s a focus. 1 team on preliminary talks is Seahawks
Rapoport followed up his initial report on The Boston Herald with an article published today:
But it may be time to add another familiar face to the discussion. The Patriots have been having preliminary talks with the Seahawks concerning former Pats receiver Deion Branch, I’m told.
At this point, the talks are not close and nothing is imminent. It’s more exploratory than anything. But there is no doubt that, within the team, this would be celebrated.
The Branch-to-the-Patriots discussions have been kicking around for a while, with Branch even saying he’d welcome a return recently.
“I still love Coach Belichick,” Branch told the Herald in February, “and if the opportunity presents itself to come back, I would love to be there.”
Fans of the Seattle Seahawks still cringe when Steve Hutchinson is mentioned in any casual conversation. Hutchinson, of course, is the one that got away. His departure is the defining moment of the Tim Ruskell era in Seattle.
Since Hutchinson bolted for greener pastures in Minnesota, the Twelfth Man has yearned for a dominant, nasty player at the offensive guard position. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of players capable of filling Hutchinson’s shoes – Mike Wahle, Rob Sims, and a handful of other replacements just weren’t the same.
But now news is breaking that Logan Mankins, who plays guard for the New England Patriots, is seeking a trade.
The puddles of water outside aren’t from rain in June; they were created by the Twelfth Man collectively salivating from the news. Mankins is a mauler in the same mold as Hutchinson, capable of impressing even casual fans from the trenches of the offensive line.
Before we get carried away, however, we must understand the Seahawks have a new scheme and philosophy on the offensive side of the football.
Hutchinson was a great fit next to Walter Jones in Seattle’s power-blocking scheme during the years leading up to Super Bowl XL. For Seattle fans, an overwhelming, powerful offensive line means victories, division championships, and Super Bowl appearances.
But Mankins, despite drawing comparisons to Hutchinson, probably wouldn’t be a great fit in Seattle. He is a good offensive lineman, but the cost is too high and there are more realistic, capable alternatives for the zone-blocking scheme.
Since Steve Hutchinson signed a seven-year, $49 million contract in 2006, the value of premier offensive guards has skyrocketed. The New Orleans Saints just re-signed Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans to a seven-year, $56.7 million contract that makes him the highest-paid interior lineman in the National Football League.
Logan Mankins wants a contract that at least matches or exceeds that of Jahri Evans’. According to sources, a five-year deal from the New England Patriots, worth about $7 million per year, has been on the table for “a significant amount of time.”
In addition to rewarding Mankins with a lucrative contract, the Seahawks, or any other NFL team, would have to compensate the Patriots in a trade. The New England Patriots aren’t likely to accept anything less than market value for Mankins, and Adam Caplan of Scout.com says that a first-round pick is a “fair asking price.”
Do you really want the Seattle Seahawks to give up a first-round draft pick for Logan Mankins? Do you think breaking the bank for a powerful guard is the best option for Seattle’s zone-blocking scheme?
Don’t get me wrong; Logan Mankins is talented and versatile. While I believe he could develop into a good lineman in the zone-blocking scheme, there are better, more sensible options for the Seattle Seahawks.
Ben Hamilton, for example, was signed to a one-year deal in April. He isn’t the overwhelming presence that Mankins is, but Hamilton is a veteran of the zone-blocking scheme and is a better-than-serviceable option at left guard. Hamilton gives Seattle the best value for a player at his position.
In addition, Hamilton is expected to act as a mentor for new players on the offensive line. Allowing rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung to play alongside a veteran like Hamilton is something the coaching staff believes will pay dividends:
“You can’t throw him out there without someone to guide them,” [Alex] Gibbs said. “We needed a player that had done that, and knew the system that I knew, to help him make the transfer. That’s what Ben [Hamilton] is for.
“Ben will line up inside of him and guide him through this whole process. So he’s Coach one, I’m Coach two. That’s why he’s here.”
Guards in Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking scheme must be athletic, versatile, and intelligent. Height and length doesn’t mean much; leverage is everything. Maulers aren’t necessary, as Gibbs prefers athletic players who can move and get out to make blocks. Intelligence is more valuable than strength in the zone-blocking scheme.
In addition, calls made on the offensive line are made from the inside out in Gibbs’ scheme. Centers call guards, guards tell tackles what to do, tackles tell tight ends what to do, and so on. Having a veteran presence at left guard will be invaluable to Russell Okung’s development.
Acquiring Logan Mankins would be a luxury, but a premier player of his caliber is not necessary. This is especially true when considering the compensation required (both trade and player contract). Ben Hamilton is a valuable, veteran presence on the offensive line, and acquiring an additional starting guard would possibly slow the development of Max Unger.
In short, Mankins would be nice. But replacing Steve Hutchinson (with another Steve Hutchinson) should not be the goal any longer.
Tags: Alex Gibbs, Ben Hamilton, contract, football, Jahri Evans, left guard, Logan Mankins, Max Unger, Mike Wahle, Minnesota Vikings, National Football League, New England Patriots, nfl, offensive line, Opinion, Pete Carroll, Pro Bowl, Rob Sims, Rumors, Russell Okung, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Steve Hutchinson, trade, value, zone-blocking scheme
That sure didn’t take long. According to Mike Teel via Twitter, he is going to join Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Closer to home, New England should offer Teel a great opportunity to continue his development as a quarterback in the National Football League. Teel will compete with Brian Hoyer, Isaiah Stanback, and rookie Zac Robinson for a spot on the depth chart.
No doubt he’ll have a lot of support from fans in Seattle.