The New England Patriots say its a deal and that Richard Seymour was traded to the Raiders.
Three separate sources say the deal went out on the NFL wire, meaning it was approved by the league, and that Seymour counts as a member of the Raiders on the 53-man roster. On the same day, the Raiders terminated the contract of William Joseph to make room.
All that awaits is a physical.
So why would Raiders coach Tom Cable say the Raiders were “attempting” to make a deal to acquire Seymour and say the only issues are between Seymour and the Patriots?
I’ve long since given up trying to figure out how the Raiders come up with their company line. In this case, I doubt it will matter much.
At some point within the next few days, simple economics will come into play and Seymour will report to the Raiders as a somewhat surprised but willing professional planning on giving his best.
Seymour has been with the Patriots for eight years and has family there. It’s his home. He’s got children to consider in terms of pulling the out of school and relocating to the opposite coast. Even if you’re a millionaire, it’s a shock to the system, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the swing of the pendulum from the NFL’s best organization over the past six years to the worst.
But because of the money involved, $3.7 million this year and the potential for huge money down the line in the form of a new contract, refusing to accept the trade could have dire financial consequences. And that brings him right back to his family, with the only sensible solution being to show up in Oakland, help turn around the NFL’s worst rushing defense and further enhance his status as one of the best defensive linemen of his era.
Neither Seymour nor anyone involved with him is talking on the record. Agent Eugene Parker could not be reached for comment through e-mails or phone messages. The notion being floated by sources who don’t want to be an on the record is that Seymour was stunned by the trade, and the best guess is he’ll get over it and get on with his career.
That Al Davis would make a deal of this magnitude without having an agreement in place with Seymour isn’t surprising.
First, Davis figures Seymour, once he gets used to the idea, will love the idea of being a Raider. He is convinced every player wants to wear silver and black. Players themselves are often fascinated with Davis. If he gets an extended period of time to talk with Seymour, that may be all it will take to get him in uniform.
Second, Davis is very good at keeping the players he wants to keep. Almost no one saw the Raiders keeping both Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler, but Davis opened up his checkbook and did both.
The Raiders have leverage in the form of a franchise tag, which they can utilize with Seymour until they strike a deal as they did with Asomugha.
Seymour isn’t the first reluctant Raider. In 1998, the Raiders traded with the New Orleans Saints for cornerback Eric Allen, planning to pair him with top draft pick Charles Woodson.
Allen wanted no part of coming to the Raiders. He’d heard enough horror stories about a 1997 season that would fit in nicely with any or all of the last six years in terms of dysfunction and disaster.
He came anyway, of course. Allen wasn’t ready to walk away from the sport he loved. Conversations with defensive coordinator Willie Shaw, who had been a Saints assistant, and coach Jon Gruden helped convince him to report.
The difference, of course, is that Allen was acquired in the offseason. The Raiders could be patient and let Allen come to his senses.
With the Seymour deal struck eight days before the opener, the process will be condensed, but common sense and economics still apply.