Trading for Richard Seymour is Vintage Al Davis

Al Davis

The time is now once again for Al Davis.

Al Davis has been called many things over the years. One adjective you’ll never see used to describe the iconic owner of the Oakland Raiders is gun-shy.

For a man who lives by the motto of “Just Win Baby” victories have been few and far between over the last six years. That doesn’t mean that it is not for lack of effort on the part of Mr. Davis. If nothing else, his biggest fault has been having the patience of a toddler staring at a Pop Tart in the toaster oven. He wants to win and he wants to win yesterday.

The overzealous nature of Mr. Davis has led to running coaches in and out of Oakland like husbands in Elizabeth Taylor’s bedroom. His desire to win at all costs has cost him precious capital via misguided contracts (see 2008).

Now, Davis has once again pulled the trigger on a deal to bring a marquee talent to Oakland in the middle of yet another rebuilding effort. When the news of the Richard Seymour trade broke, immediately images of Randy Moss came bubbling up from the blurry recent past of Raider Nation.

Seymour is not Moss in the sense that he comes to the East Bay carrying the baggage of character issues. Quite the opposite, Seymour has gained the reputation as a hard worker who plays to the echo of the whistle. In this case, Seymour’s question mark relates to his football future – namely his contract.

In a contract year, Bill Belichick and the Patriots brass decided to trade the five time Pro Bowl defender instead of having to deal with his new deal. Top that with a recent history of injuries and an ideal trade meant to fill an immediate need in Oakland suddenly becomes more of a gamble than a sure bet.

Giving up a first round pick in 2011 has been seen as an overvaluation of Seymour. From where I sit, this was a steal. The Raiders have many a question mark surrounding recent first round picks. Combine the lack of production with the lofty price tag and giving up a first round pick two years from now doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Where the Raider scouting department has earned their paycheck recently has been in the selections made outside of the first round (see Shane Lechler, Michael Bush, Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Mario Henderson and Zach Miller as examples). Plus, with the way the Pats and Raiders deal, there is nothing to stop one from thinking that the Raiders will get that pick back when the Hoodie comes calling for Nnamdi Asomugha in 2011.

No, Richard Seymour alone does not make the Raiders a Super Bowl contender. But in a weakened AFC West where the marquee team is a San Diego front runner that never manages to live up to the hype, Seymour could be the difference between 7-9 or 8-8, which was good enough to win the division title in 2008.

Now the waiting game has begun.

When will Al Davis and Richard Seymour have their sit down to iron out the football future of a dominant defensive lineman? According to HGH user turned studio big mouth Rodney Harrison, Seymour is no happier about being dealt to Oakland than football fans are of having to hear Harrison’s mundane ramblings every Sunday.

Undoubtedly Davis will impress Seymour when the two finally talk. The run defense savior will be amazed to learn that the rumors of a senile Davis are faulty and that his mind is still just as sharp as it’s ever been. Seymour will have a hard time turning down the type of money Davis will offer him as well.

All of the above hinges on a meeting actually taking place though.

Going from the Pats to the Raiders is tough pill to swallow. If given the choice, playing for a winning cheater is much more appealing than playing for a legendary owner turned captain of a sinking ship. 

What Seymour doesn’t realize is that if he becomes a part of the Raider resurrection then he’ll be held in reverence with some of the all-time greats that have played for a franchise that is a pillar of the NFL and has a fan base as faithful and dedicated as any in sports.

Therefore, the plan that Mr. Davis spelled out decades ago still lives on. Acquiring top players at any cost and demanding greatness of them is nothing new. Getting those players to buy into that philosophy amid six horrendous years is a new challenge.

Seymour might not know Davis, but he knows his reputation. Even with the offer of millions to play in Oakland, nothing is guaranteed. Winning is not a given nor is Seymour’s employment should he under perform. One year ago DeAngelo Hall thought he hit the jackpot. In the end, all Hall got was a half season of a 7-year deal and $8 million of a possible $70 million.

Patience is not one of Mr. Davis’ best qualities and in this business of pro football  loyalty is rare. Ironically, the much romanticized franchise Seymour just left showed him no loyalty at all. The one Seymour is joining has a great history of loyalty. Just ask Asomugha or Shane Lechler about that.

Nothing comes easy for Al Davis. One crisis after another is par for the course in Oakland, but that doesn’t mean that the tide can’t turn with the right mentality. Tom Cable proved he could help to right the ship. Al Davis bought into Cable’s philosophy so much so that he traded for Richard Seymour. Now, Davis has to convince Seymour to buy in. What comes next is either the vintage Davis of the glorious past or the misguided Davis of the recent failings.


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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bill Belichick Deangelo Hall Nnamdi Asomugha Randy Moss Richard Seymour Rodney Harrison Shane Lechler Tom Cable

  • Brian Westheimer

    The article started out being a decent read, until the Harrison HGH and the “winning cheater” comments.

    Shame, as long as you insist on utilizing worn and rehashed opponent associations, you invalidate yourself and confirm your place as just another wannabe hack.

  • Chris Shellcroft


    Sorry to have wasted your time. Would you prefer that I refer to Harrison as “the man voted the dirtiest player in the NFL by his peers” or call Belichick a coach who “bent the rules”?

    If by “wannabe hack” you mean someone who states the facts then guilty as charged!

    Perhaps you just don’t associate the fact that Harrison got to where he is part by HGH use, but I refuse to overlook that. Maybe you just glance over Belichick breaking the rules to win but I don’t. Yes, I am a “wannabe hack” since I don’t miss out on any chance I get to state the truth.

  • Kate

    Let’s take a look at the “vintage” (I find decrepit & delusional to be more factual Chris) Al Davis’ transaction record in recent history. $55M contract for Javon “I steal therefore I am” Walker; #72M contract (+ 2 draft picks) for DeAngelo Hall (who couldn’t get out of Oakland fast enough); $39M contract for Gibril Wilson (already cut despite $12M+ guaranteed); and, of course, Randy Moss, who never wanted to play in Oakland in the first place and whose play showed just how disinterested he was. Now, a 1st in 2011 for Seymour, who incidentally also does not want to play in Oakland (can anyone blame him?). The Raiders have drafted 7th, 4th, 1st, 7th, 7th & 2nd overall the last 6 years with likely top ten picks for the foreseeable future. A top 10 pick for a player who might not even be with the Raiders when the Pats use that pick (being that Seymour is due to be a free agent)? A good move, are you kidding? Are you high? Are you drunk? Every move this team makes is looked upon with scorn/laughter by everyone else in the national sports media business! Keep drinking that Kool-Aid “from where I sit, it was a steal” Shellcroft!!! I’m thinking you’re posting from a small room with padded walls; is that where your lap-dog association with Mr. Davis began?

  • Kate

    It just occurred to me that you may not have understood any of that due to your condition. What I am saying is that the move was extremely dumb and that your endorsement of it makes you extremely dumb as well.

  • Slam

    Your assertion that “He wants to win and he wants to win yesterday” is the #1 fallacy in the Raider Nation.

    The last time the Raiders were (just) winning, Jon Gruden was becoming the icon of the Raiders and Al hated it.

    If all he cared about was winning, he would’ve locked-up Gruden to a long term deal and faded into the background.

    No, what Davis wants more than ANYTHING is to be simultaneously loved, feared, admired and loathed.

    He is an immature fool who meddles and disrupts the team.

    Every time he pulls a player into his office for one of his heart-to-heart talks, all he does is undermine the head coach, and the results are becoming all too familiar.

  • Slam

    If you’re going to take a cheap shot at Rodney Harrison, what about brilliant Al Davis free agent aquisition Romonowski ?

  • Chris Shellcroft


    Since Romanowski had nothing to do with Seymour coming to Oakland I failed to include him in the piece. My apologies, from here on out I will make sure to always include him in everything I write.

    But not to short change you, here is some Romanwoski reading since you love him and Harrison so much. Cheap shot? How is stating fact cheap? It’s not like I made that up. Dude did use HGH. Should we not mention that when discussing Sammy Sosa or A-Rod also?


    I think this went over your head. My point was the Raiders haven’t had as much luck with all those top 10 picks but have had success in the late rounds. Hence, getting a 5-time Pro Bowler for a first round pick is a victory because it saves them from making another mistake.

    Or, did I not spell that out in my myopic Raider idiom?


  • RD

    Great article, Chris.
    Being from New England, and a former Patriots fan, let me say that the vast majority of fans and wonks here either think Bill B is “god” or are afraid to say what they are really thinking.
    Al Davis made out like a bandit in this deal.
    A 5-Time Pro Bowler who hasn’t even turned 30 for an unknown pick 2 years from now ? I am utterly aghast at those who say the Patriots made out here.
    The Pat secondary is full of unproven players now.
    The D-Line just lost 50% of what held it together.
    I really see Patriot Nation in for a rude awakening this season. I expect even mediocre offenses to shred it to pieces.

  • Bob

    Should have kept Burgess!!!

  • Hoodie

    Great move by the Pats here. Seymour was a great player, and if healthy he can still be a very good player… but the Pats knew they wouldn’t be able to sign him after the season. Especially considering that they now value you the younger Wilfork more than Big Sey. I understand the move for the Raiders. Considering their inept draft history, giving up a high pick is not that big of a deal and, if healthy, Seymour will provide some much needed help to their run defense. I udnerstand the need, but it seems like this move would make sense if the Raiders were on the verge of making a playoff run, no? Honestly, you have to be wearing silver & black glasses to actually think the Raiders have any shot at making the playoffs this year. I think they should’ve stuck with the youth movement and for once not gone for the flashy name.

  • Kate

    Yes, let us adopt this strategy, Chris. Yes, the Raiders draft like they are doing so using a ouija board with a stop watch. But, how can anyone in their right mind presume that adding a 30-yr old D-lineman this season for this season alone (and at this point, it may not even be for this season, then what?) makes better sense in the bulding process than preserving the potential that a top 10 pick offers in that same rebuilding process. Oh, O.K., it stops the Raiders from making another stupid pick, I see. So, now, we must accept that this team can’t draft its way out of a paper bag and will remain that way forever. How about fixing that problem already? It is just this sort of “feeding the old man’s beast of an ego” reasoning that continues to allow the Raiders to stand idly by while the Steelers and the Patriots continue to collect stellar records and Superbowl championships. I repeat, dumb, just plain dumb. But, then again, stupid is as stupid does.

  • Slam


    I’m not saying I love Bill Romonowski, I’m saying it’s hard to listen to a Raiders fan bash Rodney Harrison ( who by the way turned down more money from the Rad to WIN in New England )for being a cheap shot PED abuser.

    People who live in glass houses throwing stones and all that.

  • James Scott

    Excellent read.

  • Saijinn

    Rodney Harrison was never offered anything by Oakland. So how can he turn it down? Harrison talked about how he was expecting to go to Oakland, but Davis never called.

    Who said that Seymour would be here for “this season and this season alone”? Oakland has some options with him, to a degree that it would be in Seymour’s best interest to sign an extension soon. If Seymour sits out, Oak can put him on a “did not show up” list. This effectively “pauses” his contract. So that NEXT year, he would STILL have a year due to OAK. If he refuses to sign, but shows up to play, OAK can franchise him for the next two years. He doesn’t want that. NFL Network just went over all of this a couple of nights ago.

    And Richard Seymour at 30 is better than ANY rookie 1st rounder we can ever hope to have used that draft pick on.

  • Slam

    Raider fans deify Jack Tatum, George Atkinson, Ben Davidson, Romo, and all the other dirty alumni; conveniently ignore the half dozen ex-Raiders tied directly to BALCO, but bash Rodney Harrison with impunity.

    If Rodney Harrison spent his career in Oakland, you would all be pouring the hot bronze in the mold for his statue.

  • Al B Senile

    That was pretty funny. Putting down any team and raising the raiders up is just too funny. Raiders were perennially the dirtiest team in football, cheated constantly, and had more steroid monkeys than anyone. Lyle Alzado would vouch if he could. The stinkshows they have put on the field for over a decade and Al’s idiotic moves shall continue. Enjoy.

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