The New England Patriots continue to show the intelligence and savvy that led them to the Super Bowl. In dealing quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots made another quality personnel move that will ensure their success extends into the 2002 season.
Keeping Bledsoe another year was completely unnecessary and in all likelihood would have become a detriment to team chemistry. Bledsoe managed to fulfill the role of good soldier last year, but the rumbling out of the Northeast was that another year would have been more than he could handle.
Besides the character issue, Bledsoe had become a luxury that New England no longer required. Tom Brady is the Patriots’ starter, and there’s no question about it. He’s younger, cheaper and more talented, at this point, than Bledsoe. Bledsoe just hasn’t been the same player that New England selected first overall more than a decade ago.
By dealing Bledsoe to Buffalo, New England has secured two very valuable commodities for themselves. They added another first-round pick in 2003, plus $10 million in salary cap space, which can be immeasurable. Don’t think so? Just look at what happened to the team that won the previous Super Bowl, Baltimore. Due to cap issues, the Ravens have had to dismantle their team, but with Bledsoe’s departure, the Patriots have not only improved the chemistry on the team, but ensure that they won’t have to mortgage their future for the present. Add to that a first-round pick likely in the top 10, and New England has established themselves as contenders for years to come.
Trading seasoned NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bulls was moronic on the part of the New England Patriots. In a time when free agents override draft picks, players who are winners prove to be most valuable to teams if they are going to be consistent contenders.
The P men should have kept Bledsoe and traded Tom Brady, who has only started for the Patriots for less than a season. Brady may be playing good football right now, but the Pats will need more leadership and experience when the Cinderella effect wears off and they come back down to football earth and perform to the level they are really worth.
Brady has only showed that he can perform to the level of his teammates, averaging a mediocre 189 yards per game, while Bledsoe has been the consistent leader of the Pats’ struggling offense. In addition, Bledsoe has proven that he can overcome poor blocking from his offensive line, a lack of a ground game and dropped passes, and he was still able to win 41 games in 4 seasons.
Patriots’ management had a lapse in judgment again when they decided to trade Bledsoe to a division rival. Did they forget that they have to play the Bills twice a year, sometimes when the elements take control of football games? And Bledsoe is obviously no foreigner to the rain, snow and winds after playing in Foxboro for so long.
In trading him to the Bills, the Patriots have helped the Bills rebuild their team, and that will haunt the Patriots next season.