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83-Steelers-43
06-05-2006, 03:56 PM
Pats to deal WR Johnson to Saints for DT Sullivan
By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com


Clearly frustrated by his dubious work habits and conditioning, the New Orleans Saints on Monday threw in the towel on defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, trading the team's first-round choice from the 2003 draft to New England in exchange for wide receiver Bethel Johnson.

Confirmed by both teams but still pending league approval, the trade essentially dispatches a pair of talented but disappointing players to new clubs, where they might be able to revive their careers.

The trade provides the Patriots another young and physically skilled defensive lineman in Sullivan, who was the sixth overall choice in the 2003 draft. But the Patriots are also taking on a player whose desire to fulfill his enormous potential has now been questioned by two different New Orleans coaching staffs.

Sullivan, 25, struggled with weight problems during the three years he played under coach Jim Haslett and did not gain favor with first-year coach Sean Payton and his staff this spring. Although he reportedly lost about 20 months in recent weeks, dropping his weight to 328 pounds, Sullivan's stamina was a problem at the Saints' three-day mini-camp that concluded Sunday.

Given that the current coaching staff has no inherent loyalty to Sullivan, since it didn't draft him, the deal was not altogether surprising. Payton is attempting to set a new standard with a franchise that has suffered discipline problems in the past. Cutting ties to such a high-round draft choice, and a veteran who is still young enough to turn around his career, will certainly send a message.

Whether the Patriots staff can motivate Sullivan remains to be seen. New England has a strong nucleus of outstanding young defensive linemen -- starting with Richard Seymour and including Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Jarvis Green and Marquise Hill -- and Sullivan will have to fight for playing time. Also, Sullivan has always been a 4-3 tackle, and the Patriots' base defense is a 3-4 alignment.

In three seasons with the Saints, the former University of Georgia standout appeared in 36 games with 17 starts and had 102 tackles, 1? sacks, one forced fumble and four pass deflections. He did not start a game in 2005 and posted 42 tackles.

As a first-rounder in 2003, Sullivan signed a seven-year contract in which the final two seasons voided. He received a signing bonus of $7.4 million and a second-tier option bonus of $4 million. New England will inherit the final two seasons of that contract, at base salaries of $698,083 in 2006 and $901,333 in 2007.

Johnson, 27, was nearly as disappointing to the Patriots as Sullivan was to the Saints organization. Often beset by injuries and never really the kind of contributor the Patriots hoped he would be on offense, he had only 30 receptions for 450 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons.

One of the fastest players in the NFL, Johnson, a second-round pick in the 2003 draft, was principally used as a kickoff return specialist. The former Texas A&M star averaged 25.1 yards on 102 kickoff returns and had nine runbacks of 40-plus yards, including two for touchdowns.

The Saints, who have been looking for a veteran wide receiver to fill the No. 3 slot behind starters Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth, pick up the final two years on Johnson's original five-year rookie contract. He is due to make $500,000 in 2006 and $546,000 in 2007.

hardwork
06-05-2006, 04:26 PM
Yeah, they traded disappointments. No downside, but will there be an upside for either team? Time will tell.

tony hipchest
06-05-2006, 05:11 PM
the potential upside lies with sullivan (hes just fat and lazy). b. johnson is a bust and wont find success no matter where he goes.

Livinginthe past
06-05-2006, 05:14 PM
Well that was a move out of the blue.

Its not like BB to pick a player who has obvious motivational problems - ballooning weight and lack of production.

Having said that we always get more out of our linemen than you would think possible - alot of our SB O-lines have defined the term 'journeyman'.

I guess the Patriots finally lost patience with Bethel - some of his recent comments about being at a loss what to do to improve himself were an indication of things to come, I suppose we can say in hindsight.

New England is a tough place to be a receiver - numbers are hard to come by - although I guess you could argue with the degree to which the Pats share it about a No.3 guy should see his share of the ball.

Sullivan is more depth - maybe a change of environment can give this guy a kick up the ass - who knows - its already set patriots forums on fire with talk of a move to the base 4-3 - something I doubt will happen.

NM

Black@Gold Forever32
06-05-2006, 06:29 PM
I think if anyone can get anything out of Sullivan its BB. The Pats already had one of the best Dlines in the NFL. Sullivan just gives them another body.

clevestinks
06-05-2006, 06:41 PM
New England is a tough place to be a receiver - numbers are hard to come by - although I guess you could argue with the degree to which the Pats share it about a No.3 guy should see his share of the ball.



NM

??? Brady did lead the league in passing? And he is the master of spreading the ball around it seems

tony hipchest
06-05-2006, 06:51 PM
??? Brady did lead the league in passing? And he is the master of spreading the ball around it seemsand that johnson couldnt find success within that system shows what a bust he was. he was a track guy and nothing else.

Livinginthe past
06-05-2006, 07:12 PM
??? Brady did lead the league in passing? And he is the master of spreading the ball around it seems

I guess my point was that it is a tough place to be a No.1 receiver a l? Deion Branch - and get the numbers your talent deserves.

As you say, with Brady racking up the yardage and spreading it around it means that Bethel should have been on the field alot more than he was.

Bethel spent alot of time, fully fit, scratching his head as to why he wasn't seeing more playing time.

I have sympathy for him, he just didn't get 'it' whatever 'it' was that BB wanted him to understand.

NM

Livinginthe past
06-05-2006, 07:15 PM
My condolences to Pats fans. Jonathan Sullivan is a useless lardass.

Maybe he is being employed to keep the hamburger stocks in New England at an all time low - this should remove the temptation for players like Wilfork to binge.

In all seriousness we can afford for Sullivan to play at a decent back-up level this year, with the knowledge that he does have the tools to succeed, just remains to be seen whether he has the mental key to unlock them.

NM

3 to be 4
06-05-2006, 07:40 PM
If BB can actually revive Sullivan it just adds to an already stacked DL and gives them more options to switch back and forth between 4-3 and 3-4. For what they gave up its a good move.

Bethel was worth it for the contributions he made his rookie season, especially a TD return on the last play of the first half at Indianapolis.

Suitanim
06-05-2006, 07:47 PM
This would be an area of concern for me if I were a Pats fan...there isn't much depth at WR, and the fact that they are willing to part with a body to recruit a very questionable DL prospect makes me think there may be even bigger problems on the Dline, too.

While I admire the esprit de corps of the Pats fans collective, there are some increasingly obvious holes on this team that haven't been filled...

Petesburgh66
06-05-2006, 11:58 PM
The trade does leave the Pats a little bit thin in the WR and kickoff return game for now.

hardwork
06-06-2006, 01:17 AM
This would be an area of concern for me if I were a Pats fan...there isn't much depth at WR, and the fact that they are willing to part with a body to recruit a very questionable DL prospect makes me think there may be even bigger problems on the Dline, too.

While I admire the esprit de corps of the Pats fans collective, there are some increasingly obvious holes on this team that haven't been filled...



Very poorly informed analysis of the trade, suit. I'm surprised.

Livinginthe past
06-06-2006, 05:30 AM
The trade does leave the Pats a little bit thin in the WR and kickoff return game for now.

We have Ellis Hobbs to return kick offs, who isn't as quick as BJ but could show more ability to read holes.

We are thin at WR for sure - I expect a FA move when we see a few more cuts made, although there isnt a great deal out there.

One theory doing the rounds is that we will see alot more of the 2-TE set next year, Ben Watson could easily spilt out wide if needed - he would be a helluva match up problem for a LB or DB.

NM

clevestinks
06-06-2006, 09:19 AM
I guess my point was that it is a tough place to be a No.1 receiver a l? Deion Branch - and get the numbers your talent deserves.

As you say, with Brady racking up the yardage and spreading it around it means that Bethel should have been on the field alot more than he was.

Bethel spent alot of time, fully fit, scratching his head as to why he wasn't seeing more playing time.

I have sympathy for him, he just didn't get 'it' whatever 'it' was that BB wanted him to understand.

NM
Maybe its just me, but it would be worth playing second or third fiddle on a team that throws that much, and racks up rings. They all have plenty of money for life, but rings is a different story.

tony hipchest
06-06-2006, 09:47 AM
One theory doing the rounds is that we will see alot more of the 2-TE set next year, Ben Watson could easily spilt out wide if needed - he would be a helluva match up problem for a LB or DB.

NM heres my take and some supporting links that make me believe this is EXACTLY what 'chick has up his sleeve:

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?t=7303&highlight=tight

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9473554

Suitanim
06-06-2006, 10:23 AM
Very poorly informed analysis of the trade, suit. I'm surprised.

If you disagree, I must be on the right path...since bringing in players with questionable character is always a smart move, huh?

Livinginthe past
06-06-2006, 11:04 AM
Maybe its just me, but it would be worth playing second or third fiddle on a team that throws that much, and racks up rings. They all have plenty of money for life, but rings is a different story.

You are spot on there Cleve.

2nd or 3rd on the team should see plenty of passes - but the guys operating in these slots during the SB winning years (D.Givens, D.Patten) have opted to take the money and move on.

I can only imagine that these guys either think that they are a major component in the Patriots previous success, and not just a cog in a weel oiled machine, or else they think they have all the rings they need........

I would compare 2nd/3rd receivers in the Patriots system to running backs in Denver - it is Brady that really makes it happen for these guys, which they soon realise when they have Patrick Ramsey slinging the ball 20 feet over their heads.

Denver RB's can be the same - its the blocking schemes and offensive game plan that makes alot of these lower round RB's put up such fantastic numbers - when they move on they dont find things quite so simple.

NM

Livinginthe past
06-06-2006, 11:36 AM
heres my take and some supporting links that make me believe this is EXACTLY what 'chick has up his sleeve:

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?t=7303&highlight=tight

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9473554

And an excellent take it is too Tony.

I think the Patriots had the premiere pairing of receiving/blocking TE's in the NFL last year - Watson and Graham are both very capable receivers - if you factor in Fauria then you had 3 sets of decent hands.

Graham plays alot of downs as a blocker - whether this is deliberate design, or just BB's hand being forced due to inexperience on the O-Line, I dont know - the problem is - it has caused to him to miss significant playing time due to injuries.

Watson is a definite threat deep, which is rare for a TE - he just needs to improve his discipline on route running whihc I am sure will come with experience.

Extra potency in the redzone coupled with YAC and you have to wonder if the typical WR doesnt have his days numbererd in the NFL - maybe there are just too few genetic freaks for this to happen just yet.

BB has continued that theme this year with two more TE's selected in the draft, thought one of these guys is being thought of more as a HB - either way it allows for more flexibility on offense.

Does Tuman have the ability to catch more than single digit passes consistently - or he is exclusively a blocking TE?

I think for the 2 TE revolution to really take off both guys have to be receiving threats aswell as good blockers.

NM

tony hipchest
06-06-2006, 12:10 PM
tuman is more in the mold of breuner than miller but he has really good hands, just not the speed you would want to be your #1 te as a receiving threat, but i think he could be a solid starter on half the teams. it tells me alot that the steelers re-signed him instead of letting him walk this off season.

CantStop85
06-06-2006, 02:46 PM
We are thin at WR for sure - I expect a FA move when we see a few more cuts made, although there isnt a great deal out there.
You guys can always have Chris Henry...

Suitanim
06-06-2006, 03:08 PM
You guys can always have Chris Henry...

Hmmm...I wonder if they'll take him. Once they start down the path to the darkside by signing players of questionable charcter, where does it end?

Livinginthe past
06-06-2006, 03:22 PM
You guys can always have Chris Henry...

Thats a pretty generous offer.

I wouldn't write Henry off just yet - its a fact that he is headed in the wrong direction and at a hell of a speed, but these things can be turned around.

There are way too many examples of wasted talent in the NFL in years past, I hope he doesnt become another one.


NM