If this is an example of how Reiss will replace Solomon as the beat reporter, I think the Globe just took a step forward. This piece covers the entire situation, gives lots of context and excellent analysis, without taking sides or letting personal opinion color the tenor of the information. Which is just what a beat reporter should do.
He points out some interesting observations including the apparent foundation of Chayut's underlying contention that Deion was somehow mistreated in the handling of his rookie deal. Mike notes that Chayut never filed a grievance at the time. I recall seeing another agents comments (a partner perhaps) at the time indicating the addition of the 5th year was being worked out via the addition of up to $3M in performance incentives (Deion apparently in hindsight had difficulty reaching for the most part).
I also like the tone Troy takes - supporting his guy but pointing out it's up to him to get his situation straightened out and get back to his teamates - who in his absence by necessity will move on...because it's their season or future or career on the line as well.
Mike mentions the franchise tag request and opines it is the most likely way Deion returns to camp. I think because of the implications it is the least likely. In fact I don't forsee any return short of voluntary. The way to bridge the gap on the contract is with incentives, but the way Chayut has behaved doesn't bode will for bridging the gap that way. I believe there likely is no deal on the table today in light of the holdout extending as it has well into TC. About the only relief Deion should expect is if he comes in sooner rather than later they will likely not impose those prohibitive fines.
What Chayut has accomplished to date is elevating his clients profile. But the pressure that will create returning from a holdout could cause him more harm than good. 32 GM's and the media will be watching his season unfold a lot more closely and critically than they have in the past. Kinda like the way many of us have as Pat's fans. Deion is a very good WR, but thus far he has certain limitations in his game that underlie his not being an elite #1. And those have obviously been factored in to the Pat's offer to slot him as the 13th-17th highest paid WR in a 3 year deal.
"A source close to the parties indicated they are not talking about salary figures because of the difference of opinion regarding Branch's value. The gap was described as being in different stratospheres.
The breakdown in talks traces to May, when the Patriots attempted to spark negotiations by offering Branch a contract extension through 2009. The offer included a $4 million signing bonus and $4 million option bonus payable in 2007. Branch's base salary for 2006 would be $1.045 million, followed by salaries of $1.4 million in 2007, $4.3 million in 2008, and $4.75 million in 2009. The deal also included workout bonuses of $300,000. Over the four years of the deal, Branch would be paid just shy of $5 million per year. Assessing only the three years added to the original contract, plus bonus money, Branch would be averaging about $6.25 million per year.
Looking at the contract over a four-year period (2006-09), Branch would be tied for 17th among NFL receivers in average salary per year with Washington's Santana Moss, St. Louis's Isaac Bruce, and Dallas's Terry Glenn. Focusing solely on the three years added to the original contract (2007-09), Branch would rank 13th in average salary per year, between Pittsburgh's Hines Ward (12th) and Miami's Chris Chambers and Denver's Rod Smith (tied for 14th). Currently, Branch's base salary ranks him 44th among NFL receivers (all rankings are as of the beginning of July).
There has been no dialogue between the sides since the offer in May, although there has been plenty of chatter elsewhere. Branch has told those close to him he was pleased to hear what he felt were supportive comments from quarterback Tom Brady that appeared in a Sports Illustrated piece this week.
Meanwhile, the Patriots continue to work at training camp shorthanded at receiver. Brown said it's no secret what the Patriots are missing in Branch, who led the team with 78 catches for 998 yards and led receivers with five touchdowns last season.
``You've seen him play," Brown said. ``He's a pretty good player. Right now, we just have to work with what we have. I think the guys are doing a good job of getting themselves ready to play. Deion, I think he needs to get his situation straightened out, and we'd like to have him back as soon as possible."
The problem, of course, is that it's difficult to straighten things out when the sides aren't talking. And as of yesterday, the lines of communication remained closed."