ESPN’s Tim Graham reports on the Pats gaining a big-time defensive player today as they grabbed pass rusher Derrick Burgess from the Raiders:
The rest of the AFC East won’t be thrilled about this.
The new England Patriots not only addressed what might have been their biggest need, but they also acquired a darn good player to fill it.
New England on Thursday finally obtained a veteran pass rusher to replace outside linebacker Mike Vrabel, trading undisclosed draft choices to the Oakland Raiders for pass-rusher Derrick Burgess.
In Oakland, he played defensive end. He projects as an outside linebacker for the Patriots’ 3-4 defense.
Burgess is a two-time Pro Bowler who was unhappy with his contract. He became expendable when the Raiders signed Greg Ellis, whom the Dallas Cowboys had released and also was presumed headed to the Patriots. So was Jason Taylor. So was Julius Peppers.
But they landed Burgess. He played only 10 games last year and recorded 3.5 sacks, his lowest output in four years. He led the NFL with 16 sacks in 2005 and added 11 more the next year.
The move makes the Patriots more versatile and scarier on defense.
Graham’s right, the Pats needed a pass rusher, and they got it. Now we’ll see if Burgess plays up to the level we all know he can in the 09 season as he’s more focused playing for a Super Bowl caliber team.