Bob Kraft sat down with the Herald prior to Sunday’s game and told how excited he was about the upcoming season. The reporter wrote: “One place they derived some extra cash for such purposes was through the trade of six-time Pro Bowler Mankins. It freed up $6.25 million in cap space this season, as well as $7 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016. The fans’ disappointment in losing Mankins wasn’t lost on Kraft.
“He was one of the best players, probably the second-best lineman in the history we’ve existed. After John Hannah, I think he’s the second-best offensive lineman,” Kraft said of Mankins. “As a fan, I hated to see him go. I want to see all my great players retire as Patriots. Unfortunately, this is the part of the business that’s most difficult.””
The article also noted: ““I think we have a pretty good team,” Kraft said last week with the assuredness of a man holding a straight flush. “I’m very excited about this season.””
I wonder how he feels now. The Patriots stunk out the house with its loss to Miami 33 -20.
I wrote about Kraft unloading Mankins and putting the six million dollars in his pocket. I said it was a terrible move. What turns out even worse is the way the media handled it.
Kraft’s answer: “unfortunately, this is part of the business” is let passed without anyone daring to probe further. What business is he talking about? The business of putting more money in his pocket? That’s all he could have been referring to because the trading away of the fearsome Logan Mankins had no other rationale. It was a terrible move for the team. Why is the media so craven when it comes to Kraft. Couldn’t one of the reporters have said, “I thought the business is supposed to be putting a winning team on the field? How does taking away such a person as Mankins accomplish that?”
Or for that matter question Belechick. He issued a statement that the trade of Mankins “was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.” How is trading a person Belechick himself described “as the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate” in the best interests of the team.You know what, not one member of the media challenged him on this. Rather the opposite occurred, the sports media sycophants each tried to outdo the other one in explaining how trading Mankins was a wise move.
I noted how John Henry betrayed all the Red Sox season ticket holders by selling off his best players in the middle of the year and giving up on the season. At least we know why Henry did it, he wanted to put the money into his Liverpool soccer team so he could spend $26.5 million signing Mario Balotelli. I’m not sure the Red Sox season ticket holders are happy about their money being spent on Liverpool but as Bob Kraft would say its ”part of the business.”
When I criticized Kraft and Henry before for what I thought was a betrayal of the trust put in them by their season ticket holders who pay up front upon an implied warranty that the best team possible will be fielded, some people commented that I was anti-business. What I’m anti is not business but business men who promise one thing to raise money and after having done it do another.
I pointed out that the Mankins trade was awful. He started to play for the Patriots in 2005. He played in 130 games and started in all of those games. From 2010 through 2013 he was an All Pro and started in the Pro Bowl. He was the cornerstone of the offensive line and the one who gave quarterback Tom Brady the ability to play at the high level he did as he entered into his thirties.
Trading Mankins the team captain was a blow to everyone on the team especially Brady. No one on the team can complain because the NFL owners like Vladimir Putin punish people for doing it. Bill Belichick always the good soldier likewise must support the owner’s decision. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
I wrote before that Brady doesn’t need the money. He plays the game now for the glory of claiming another championship. He played over the last seven years knowing his close friend Mankins had his back side covered and could keep the troops fighting effectively in times of stress.
Now with Mankins gone Brady has lost that support. He is aware he is more exposed to injury. His feelings of danger increased when he saw that his offensive line was as effective in stopping the Miami front four defensive players as the goal posts the wind. The leader who could be depended upon to rally the troops is no longer on the field of battle.
Here’s what is clear at this point. The Patriots won’t go undefeated. Brady has lost some of his confidence. There’s no quit in him but he doesn’t want to go through life as a cripple which will happen if he has no protection. The defense like the old gray mare ain’t what it used to be. Another game or two like that for the defense you can kiss Vince Wilfolk goodbye. Kraft knows nothing about football if he thinks you can tear the heart out of a team and think it will still win.