Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Trade That Should Be Made—But Won't Be

The Steelers and Patriots don't like each other. They are rivals in the AFC and have been in 6 of the last 9 Super Bowls. They would never make a trade between each other. But they should.

The Patriots defense is not what it once was. A few years back, Belichek's crew would wreak havoc on opposing clubs. Not no more. Last year, the Patriots ranked 23 in sacks.They ranked 20th in rushing Y/G. Anyone watching the Ravens beat up on the Patriots in the playoffs saw what everyone knew. The Patriots defense needs an overhaul.

For some reason inexplicable to fans everywhere, the Steelers refuse to upgrade their offense line. Despite giving up 50 sacks last season, only one behind the Packers who led the league, the Steelers only spent one draft pick in the first 4 rounds on the offensive line. They signed one  offensive linemen free agent, a backup journeyman former 5th round pick of Detroit in 2006. The Steelers last year were 19th in the league in rushing Y/G. What gives?

New England offensive lineman Logan Mankins is frustrated about his contract. A 2-time Pro Bowler, the Patriots offered him less than what the market says a Pro Bowl guard should get. As a result, Mankins is holding out of training camp and would like a trade.

OLB LaMarr Woodley of the Pittsburgh Steelers is also unhappy about his contract. Having earned his first Pro Bowl berth by scoring 13.5 sacks last year, he felt his rookie contract of $550,000 was no longer applicable. However, the Steelers told him they would not renogiate his contract. Woodley has not held out of camp just yet, but he is very publically unhappy with the Steelers.

You see where this is going. Why don't the Patriots trade Logan Mankins to the Steelers for Lamarr Woodley.

Here's why that would make sense. Mankins is one of the best guards in the country and would slip in perfectly into the Steelers line at LG. Able to play tackle in a pinch, Mankins would immediately stabilize the line, including helping Max Starks at LT. A plus run blocker and pass protector, Mankins is also one of the best screen blockers in football. In short, walking into the Steeler locker-room, Mankins would immediately be the best lineman on the team. And he would improve everyone else on that line.

LaMarr Woodley is one of the best pass-rushing OLB in football. Which coincidentally, is exactly what the Patriots need. After Banta-Cain's 10 sacks last year, the next linebacker on the Patriots was Adalius Thomas's 3. To compare, in 2007, Mike Vrabel had 12.5, Jarvis Green had 6.5, Adalius Thomas had 6.5 and Roosevelt Colvin had 4. The Patriots had 46 sacks that year. Last year they had 31. Woodley would come in, man the other side from Banta-Cain and force opponents to choose between Banta-Cain or Woodley, or keep an extra blocker back for both of them.

In short, everyone wins in this trade. 2 Pro Bowlers get traded for each other, and to places of corresponding weakness on the other team. Each fills a hole perfectly. Woodley adds pass rushing—not to mention solid run defense. Mankins adds plus drive blocking, pass defense and excellent screen blocking (as you can see in the picture). And he helps everyone else on the Steeler line, including rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.

Everyone would benefit from this trade. And both teams have able players to fill in for those they traded. So, the trade should happen.

But, you know and I know, it'll never will.


Pete S said...

Great idea, and I'm sure you're right about these two teams reaching an agreement. Big Ben will have a shorter career if he keeps taking hits like he has for most of his career.

Travis said...

Another reason the trade would never happen is that Bill Belichick believes that he is smart enough to fix his defense w/o having to give up his lineman.