FOXBORO — The athlete so many New Englanders craved to fill the void for Wes Welker, and Bill Belichick traded him.
He dumped Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson on the Minnesota Vikings via a late-hour trade that left the Patriots without a first-round pick and even the hardiest Belichick backers lurching for explanations.
For their dollar bill, the 29th pick, the Pats picked up a 50-cent piece, a quarter, a dime, a nickel and a penny. That was picks Nos. 52, 83, 102 and 229 overall.
It was vintage Belichick, the master insuring his moves with quantity. Throw enough of something at the wall, and something has to stick.
Add a second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round pick to the mix and lessen the impact of your mistakes.
As disheartening as it can be to the fans, the rest of the pitiful AFC East should learn a thing or two from the Belichick method.
The Pats had to be giggling as the divisional foes “chasing them” all stumbled badly.
“We feel there are football players out there to help our team,” said Pats personnel guru Nick Caserio. “We’ll see how that goes tomorrow. We were ready to pick. We had players we were ready to discuss picking. ...”
Wouldn’t you have loved if Caserio actually finished that line with the truth?
“We had players we were ready to discuss picking … But to be honest we were laughing so hard at what Miami, the Jets and Buffalo were doing that we decided to just let them keep stumbling all over themselves.”
The evening opened with Miami, a sub-.500 football team with needs all over the place on defense and at the big-play spots on offense, bumping up nine spots for Oregon pass-rusher Dion Jordan.
Now, if this were New England or for that matter any real contender — Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. — making a gutsy move like this, there’d be cartwheels in this corner.