The Patriots’ logjam at cornerback has been broken with today’s trade of Ellis Hobbs to the Philadelphia Eagles for two 2009 fifth-round draft choices (which were later traded).
"Personally, I think it’s shocking because you’ve been playing so many years for an organization, had some success, and doing your thing," said Hobbs. "But on the other side it’s a business."
A starter in 2008, Hobbs was set to return to a crowded situation this season. Competition figured to be fierce at the position.
The Patriots drafted cornerback Darius Butler in the second round, signed Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden in free agency, and had 2008 draft picks Terrence Wheatley (2nd round) and Jonathan Wilhite (4th round) returning to the fold.
"I had been telling my family members for a while," said Hobbs. "I just had a feeling. Then you kind of feel things out, you see how the organization is making moves throughout the offseason. You figure that something is going to shake, you just never know when...no bad blood, no hard feelings. It is what it is and I’m excited to be playing for the Eagles now.”
Springs would seemingly be a lock for one starting spot, with Hobbs probably battling Bodden and Wheatley for the other. Either Bodden or Hobbs would then compete with Butler and Wilhite as slot options.
The Patriots’ secondary struggled last season – the team was 26th of 32 teams on third down – and this trade seems to reflect how the Patriots felt Hobbs contributed to that statistic.
Finances also could have been a factor here.
After reaching escalators in his contract, Hobbs was due to earn $2.54 million this season. This is the last year of his contract.
One other note on this trade: The Patriots lose their top kickoff returner.