Potentially Patriots: Addendum 1 – All that and a Bag of (couch potato) Chips


“some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency. …necessity destroys responsibility and chance is uncertain; whereas our own actions are autonomous, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach.”


Tom Brady has led a charmed career.

Even the most ardent fan of the three time Super Bowl Champion will readily concede that Brady sailed under a lucky star or two early in his tenure with the New England Patriots, and having done so has become the single most celebrated player in team history.

But did he really just get lucky, or was he just the beneficiary of a random string of events that he eventually had to own?  Regardless of how his opportunities came to be, he still had to grasp it and follow through to the end.  Brady has earned everything he has.

It is difficult to fathom that the crazy set of circumstances that led to where Brady is now would ever repeat themselves, because from beginning to end, it supports Epicurus’ teachings regarding free will.

Brady being the back up to Drew Bledsoe in September of 2001, it was necessity that caused him to enter the game against the Jets after Bledsoe suffered a serious chest injury, and necessity that caused him to remain the starting quarterback throughout the weeks of Bledsoe’s recovery…but that’s where chance comes into play.

Coach Bill Belichick had a decision to make, whether to give Bledsoe his starting job back when he was ready to resume playing, or stay with Brady whom had begun to find his legs and was playing good ball.  Now it wasn’t by necessity, Brady playing, because Bledsoe was cleared and ready to play…

…and from that point forward, Brady, as well as Belichick, became responsible for every action – they left nothing to chance and have generally received positive reviews of their handiwork, as their destinies have relied on every decision and every action up to and including this point.

As far as lore is concerned, Brady didn’t have to play another game for New England after he led the Patriots to their shocking upset of the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 39 – his place in Patriots and NFL history cemented by a period of 81 seconds, narrated by a doubting and then an applauding John Madden….

But he did, and brought many more victories and titles to the northeast – and now that there are more games behind him than he has in front of him comes earnest thought of who will succeed arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

But that is not for us to ponder this year, nor anytime soon.  The man says he wants to play until Bill Belichick kicks him out of the building and there’s not one fan alive that doesn’t think he will be able to so with success – but it brings up an interesting thought.  Do loyalties count when it comes to Brady, or does the Patriot Way dictate that he should know when it’s time to turn his cleats in for Uggs full time?

Either way, that time isn’t coming anytime soon – and good thing, because if Belichick had to select a quarterback in this year’s draft to take over for the legend, the Patriots would be screwed…

…and so there is no sense in evaluating what quarterbacks are a good fit for New England, because there really isn’t one in this draft that’s fit for even Buffalo, let alone to replace the greatest of all time. When even the New York Jets indicate they are not looking for a quarterback in this draft, that’s a pretty good indicator that the draft class for quarterbacks is weak.

Not even the Raiders and their backwards, fiscally irresponsible ways are looking toward the draft that way – and when the Raiders don’t want anything to do with a quarterback, that is a good indication that you should steer clear of the position altogether – besides, the Raiders just gave Seattle backup Matt Flynn and his two game body of work $6 million to be their signal caller.

See?  Even stupid people want nothing to do with this quarterback class – at least not in the first round…

And when the Bills sign Kevin Kolb to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Cardinals take a chance on Carson Palmer, Patriots fans should feel pretty thankful that Brady turned out to be what no one thought he was…

Brady is fascinating.  A compensatory 6th round selection in the 2000 NFL draft whose combine picture and 40 time suggested couch potato, his unprecedented route through the NFL turned him into all that and bag of chips…and he says it’s going to be at least five years before that changes in any way for him…

…so when focusing on the backup quarterback position for the New England Patriots, anyone who is in that position can look at his job in one of two ways.  First, he has the easiest job in the history of mankind.  Brady doesn’t come out of ballgames, not even big time blowouts because, well, he doesn’t want to.  Secondly, you have at least five years to wait for that promotion to top cat.

So, if you’re Ryan Mallett, and the only worry in the world that you have is being in danger of developing carpel tunnel syndrome from bad technique while holding a clipboard – all the while making close to three million on your rookie contract – what do you do?

You want to play, but you know you’re never going to get the opportunity, so you also know that the likelihood of you being a Patriot when Brady hangs ’em up is zero…

…and the team has all of the leverage.  They could deal Mallett at any second for draft picks, leaving themselves with only career backup-looking Mike Kafka, whom the Patriots signed to futures contract – which is probably the best way to go for all parties.

Mallett has a cannon for an arm, and the Patriots could be sitting on a couple of difference-making draft picks by listening to offers for Big Tex, though there is speculation that New England’s asking price – they want a 1st round draft pick – effectively keeps him off the market…

…but that could just be a high starting point and the Patriots would be willing to work it down a bit, but even a 3rd rounder as compensation would help New England greatly, as their need positions happen to be quite deep in this draft, and good value at cornerback, receiver, tight end and outside linebacker can be found on the second day.

Coupled with the feeling that the Patriots will probably trade out of the first round for additional draft picks as well, a Mallett deal to bolster their options in the deep talent pool makes all the sense in the world.