Jerome Solomon and Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe report that the Patriots traded wide receiver Bethel Johnson to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for defensive lineman Johnathan Sullivan. "I'm excited to get a fresh start and a new opportunity," said Johnson, who was a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2003. "It's something that both sides recognized as needing to be done, so I'm glad they looked out for my interests and put something together that hopefully will work out for both of us." The trade has yet to be confirmed by the Patriots and Saints, as it still must be approved by the NFL.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald also discusses the Johnson for Sullivan trade and writes that in terms of pedigree, the Pats certainly got the better of the deal. Sullivan was a highly sought-after player coming out of Georgia, where he played with Seymour. He was drafted sixth overall in the 2003 draft. Sullivan turned out to be a classic bust, recording just 1 1/2 sacks and 77 tackles in 36 career games. However, at 6-foot-3, 328 pounds, Sullivan has the size to be a factor inside of the Pats' 3-4 defense. And the prevailing wisdom is that if anyone can get anything out of him, it's Belichick and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal asks the question -- Who go the better of the deal, Saints or Patriots? Curran writes that if both Johnson and Sullivan can realize even some of the potential they have flashed since coming into the league in 2003, both teams should make out well.
Albert Breer of the MetroWest Daily News also analyzes the trade and breaks down the positive and negatives each player brings to the table.
Previously in the blitz...
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal breaks down the offseason moves of what he considers the other upper echelon teams such as the Steelers, Bengals, Colts and the Broncos.
USA Today's "Inside Slant" takes a look at second year quarterback Matt Cassel, who is the likely candidate to be Tom Brady's backup this season. The Patriots still could sign a veteran to either backup Brady or at least give Cassel some competition for the job. As of June 2 there were several known commodities still unsigned, including Kerry Collins, who started the 2005 season opener against New England, and Jay Fiedler, who should be familiar to the Patriots' coaches from his days with the Dolphins.
PatriotsInsider.com also takes a look at the current depth at the backup quarterback position. Tom Brady remains a topic of conversation in Patriots Nation. The presence of second-year pro Matt Cassel and rookies Corey Bramlet and Todd Mortensen leaves open the possibility that the Patriots will look at bringing in another veteran to compete with the youngsters for a chance to backup Brady.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that currently the Patriots Hall of Fame consists of six pages in the team's media guide. The club recently unveiled development plans for the area around Gillette Stadium and a Patriots museum is part of that plan. There, the franchise's great players will be commemorated. "The conversations on this actually date back to before the 2001 season, when the Krafts were discussing a better way of honoring the team's alumni," said Stacey James, the team's executive director of media relations. "At that point, they didn't feel there was enough history to open a Hall of Fame, so when the new stadium opened, banners were hung outside of some of the team's more recognizable players. Well, now we have something on the horizon (with the development). A museum that can tell the team's story. Now we can get creative again. And now we're excited."
Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant reports that Deion Branch was one of several NFL players and coaches on hand to help campers at the annual charity football camp run by Eric Mangini and Tebucky Jones on Saturday. The camp raises money for Mangini's foundation - the Carmine and Frank Mangini Foundation, named for his deceased father and uncle - and the Tebucky Jones Youth Foundation.