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Patriot Games

Signing LBer Adalius Thomas was an excellent move by the Patriots.
BSanders37 wrote a diary articulating the worries some Colts fans have about the New England Patriots and their recent free agent additions. To summarize, the Patriots signed LBer Adalius Thomas, running back Sammy Morris, TE Kyle Brady, and KR/WR Wes Welker. Welker is the interesting case. New England might have used the old "poison pill" thing to snatch Welker from Miami, a division rival. The Patriots signed Welker (a restricted free agent) to an offer sheet worth $38.5 million over 6 years. The "poison pill" addition would make the $38.5 million guaranteed if the Dolphins match the offer. Obviously, Miami won't and Welker is indeed headed to New England. The "poison pill" clause is a dirty, under-handed tactic used by the Vikings when they snatched Steve Hutchinson from the Seahawks last year. Glad to see New England is following suit, but dirty tricks and under-handed tactics are often the norm in New England, so this comes as no surprise.

When it is all said and done, the Patriots admitted something this past week: the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun, and not Bill Belichick. All the cheap low-balling the Patriots did the last two seasons has gotten them utterly owned by the Colts. They played cheap with Adam Vinatieri, and it cost them. They played cheap with Deon Branch, and it cost them. Now, the Patriots have finally woken up and decided "Hey, we actually need good players if we are going to compete."

New England still has tremendous weaknesses at WR and safety. Rodney Harrison is done, and I don't see anyone on their roster who can replace him. That said, these additions by the Patriots are indeed very good moves. Thomas is a perfect fit at LBer for them, a position of need for the Patriots considering Tedy Bruschi is old. If Bruschi gets hurt, the Patriots don't have to move Mike Vrabel to inside LBer. They can move Thomas, who can play inside, outside, or even DE. He is the new Willie McGinest, another player the Patriots missed last season. The Patriots are offering up a lot of bread this off-season, which is very uncharacteristic. The $38 million for a guy like Welker is just insane money. Why are the Patriots making moves like this, throwing money around left and right?

Because the Colts own them.

Scott Pioli is not an idiot. He's one of the best GMs in football. He knows that New England was getting old while the Colts still remain one of the youngest teams in the league. As Colts fans, we should take these signings as a sign of respect. New England, doing what they were doing the last two years, could not compete with Indy. The Patriots have two first round picks this year as well. So, expect them to load up on serious talent in an effort to push the Colts from the top of the AFC ranks. They certainly won't get any push from within their own division, and with San Diego hiring Norv Turner (thus dooming the Chargers), Pioli and Belichick know the only obstacle in their way is the Colts.

It's now up to the Colts to counter these moves, by doing the five things they need to do to repeat. These signing by New England simply solidify the notion that the Patriots v. Colts are THE best rivalry in football. As a fan, you shouldn't worry. It's a good thing the Patriots are doing this. I, personally, want the Patriots competitive. I love the rivalry. I love what it brings to the game.

And it only makes beating them (again) all the sweeter.