NFL drama: Do the Patriots set their own agenda?

I really want March to get here. Yes it’s technically March already, but the NCAA Tournament hasn’t started yet so it doesn’t count. In order to deal with the continuing boredom that is the sports scene, let’s take a look at the NFL’s free agency period which, although short on the movement of big names, has had its share of drama with some interesting consequences.

One of the “big” free agent signings was that of TJ Houshmandzadeh by the Seattle Seahawks. Now, I’m not exactly thrilled that Housh didn’t sign with the Vikings, but I understand his reasoning of worrying about Minnesota’s quarterback situation, even if Seattle’s is also pretty shaky. What I cannot respect, though, is how he handled himself through the negotiations. On two d ifferent occasions he set deadlines for when he was going to sign and then proceeded to break them as fans of the Seahawks, Bengals and Vikings looked on with great anticipation.

What exactly was the point of these deadlines? The offers reportedly didn’t change because of his antics. This might be the biggest decision of his life and the market wasn’t as fruitful as he would have hoped, but what did he think these arbitrary time limits would do?

Seriously, take as much time as you need. If you need days, weeks, months, take whatever is appropriate. But to do something like this that has no real point and only serves to yank around fans of the game is inexcusable. All you need to do is just put a little thought into your actions and this could all be avoided.

On a different note, maybe the most notable move of the offseason was the Patriots trading Mike Vrabel and Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 34th overall pick in the draft. This, on the surface seems like a steal for the Chiefs, but you have to remember that Cassel isn’t going to have Moss and that Patriots’ offensive line to help him out. And while Vrabel may be extremely valuable to the Chiefs’ young team because of his “veteran leadership”—he has almost no real value for the Patriots. They just don’t need a coach on the field, and as an actual linebacker he’ll be competent for a few snaps a game at most. After a semi-thorough breakdown I would say there wasn’t anything wrong with the trade, but that’s before the intrigue starts.

Rumor has it that although the Patriots accepted the 34th overall pick they were offered the 12th overall pick in a deal that would have sent Jay Cutler to the Lions and Matt Cassel to the Broncos among other things. Why would the Patriots want a pick 22 spots lower in the draft? Yes, the #12 would cost more in guaranteed money than he’s worth and the Patriots have made a name for themselves by picking underrated players at the end of the first round, but they could just as easily turn that pick around, drop down a few slots and pick up some second day draft choices.

Some think that trading Cassel and Vrabel was a parting gift for Scott Pioli, formerly in the Patriots front office, and the man who now runs the Chiefs. The thing is, everybody seems to hate Belichick and the Pats anyway, so I doubt this even registers with them. So what could be gained by leaking the trade rumor?

Well, as it turns out, Jay Cutler likes to throw hissy fits; imagine that. He’s a fine young QB, but he has the propensity to run his mouth from time to time. As soon as he heard about the rumors he refused to speak to the Broncos administration and instead demanded to be traded. At this point, the Vikings initiated contact with the Broncos and, frankly, if this Cutler temper tantrum causes him to be wearing purple next year I am all for it.

Denver claims they have nixed all trade talk, but the whole debacle is putting former Patriots offensive coordinator and new Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels in some hot water. So, the Patriots look bad and no one really cares, the Chiefs have made a good trade, and the Broncos have taken two steps back even before the season has started. Oh, and who was rumored to have leaked this trade to the press? The Patriots. All I would like to say, if this is true, is that this is how you run a football team—If this is true, my god that is how you run a football team.