Stop it, Asante.
Remember Asante Samuel, the really good cornerback who helped use the Patriots’ success during his five seasons with the Patriots to score a six-year, $56 million deal with the Eagles on the way to making more than $57 million over an 11-year career?
He doesn’t like the way Bill Belichick and Co. do business.
Samuel is clearly set off by the latest developments unfolding in Foxboro. A team seemingly starved for talent potentially getting ready to part ways with probably their best player, cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
The frustration and the narrative isn’t unique, with plenty of players collecting checks from Robert Kraft over the years rolling their eyes at various moves that shipped key pieces of the locker room out of town. But it’s a tired conversation.
Sure, the Patriots won while taking their approach in large part because of Tom Brady. But for Samuel to suggest that the method to Belichick’s perceived madness wasn’t part of the winning formula is just so misguided. The quarterback is the most important piece of any NFL puzzle. But no team is a one-piece puzzle, like Samuel wants to suggest.
New England moved on from players from that got Samuel those rings, with some of those left behind not thrilled about the turnover. This has been a constant. And, yes, it helps that the quarterback was still serving as a huge part of the foundation — as is the case with pretty much every successful team in the NFL. But if you don’t manage the roster in terms of payroll and inexperienced or diminishing skillsets, you won’t have a chance.
That is what is catching up to the Patriots this season, with the quarterback dilemma potentially no more of a concern than the lack of high-end skill at wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and linebackers.
Samuel made his money mostly because he was good, but also because he was part of a winning team. And a big part of why the Patriots won those 77 games with Samuel in a New England uniform was due to the kind of turnover he is currently bemoaning.
It’s a business, Asante, and — Brady aside — up until this year it seems like the Patriots were pretty good at it.