Friday, February 27, 2009

Patriots Trade Linebacker, and it's....Mike Vrabel? Huh?

According to the Globe, Mike Vrabel has been traded to the Chiefs (great googily moogily) for an as-yet-to-be-determined price. Now, I get that Vrabel is going to turn 34 prior to the season, that his sack totals dipped from 12.5 in 2007 to 4.0 last year (though he reportedly battled a shoulder injury all year), and that to say "he's lost a step" is an understatement. I understand all that, I really do. And there's a distinct possibility that this could turn into another "Willie McGinest goes to Cleveland and stinks up the joint" deals that makes the Pats look smart in the long run.

However, on the surface, this trade still doesn't make any sense (unless we receive a first or second-rounder in return, which I highly doubt). Vrabel's cap number for 2009 was $4.3 million, certainly not chump change, but a reasonable amount to pay a relatively productive outside linebacker, especially given the OLB free-agent market. Most importantly, outside of Jerod Mayo, Vrabel was the only Patriots LB that you couldn't constitute as "utterly fucking useless," and yes Adailus Thomas, I'm including your broken-down ass in that list. Vrabel has missed only three games in the last eight seasons, his pass rushing keeps defenses honest, he doesn't do steroids and rat out Barry Bonds, and he's not named "Pierre." Also, he can move the left side of his body, which is more than we can say about Tedy Bruschi. Out of the Pats' linebackers, I'd consider Vrabel the second most competent, obviously behind Mayo. And that's not even going into the fact that he scores touchdowns at a rate that makes Frank Gore cream his jeans into a San Francisco Treat.

Adalius: Boy, I sure enjoy not playing and still cashing those checks.
Tedy: Boy, I sure enjoy when I get to drink from a sippy cup and don't spill on myself.

Vrabel's destination also is utterly puzzling. Why make a trade with Kansas City now when it may prevent us from making the Big Trade (Cassel) with them later. If we're dealing for a desirable player/draft pick from KC now, does that mean we're not getting the No. 4 pick for Cassel from them later on? If so, where does that leave Cassel? We had all figured that the Chiefs, with their Pioli connection, would be the logical destination for Matty "Backup My Ass." But has Pioli now taken himself out of the running for Cassel by trading for Vrabel instead?

Despite their 11-5 (inflated) record last year, it's abundantly clear the Patriots need help. They can't run the ball (and the Corpse of Fred Taylor, aka. LaMont Jordan 2.0, aint gonna help that), their offensive line got exposed like Chyna's three-inch clitoris, their secondary is utterly pitiful, and their linebacking corps is weak at best. But trading one of their few competent defensive players? Utterly fucking mystifying. However, in a phrase I've uttered countless times over the last few years, "it's Belichick, he must know what he's doing here." This time, I just hope I'm not wrong.


HZMLS said...

Shoulda been you Tedy Bruschi.

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

$4.5M isn't a big cap number..... but trading Vrable more than doubled the Pats' cap space. I think this was solely a cap move. And probably a little bit of "get something while the player still has some value." Sure, the crappy 5th or 6th round pick they'll get from the Chiefs isn't much, but it's probably more than they'd get from keeping him in 2009 and non-tendering him and letting him walk.

Vrabel is still productive, but he's not going to be productive for very long. Hence, it may be better in the big picture scale to cut bait with him now and use that $4.5M in cap space to address other needs, especially if you feel you have depth (or can obtain depth) at that position.

My hunch is that this is a precursor to a Wilfork extension.

Shaun said...

I wonder if he had time to attend Tom's wedding on the way out.

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