Originally Posted by patchick
Interesting piece because it focuses purely on the tactics taken. No matter how you feel about the contract situation itself, it surely seems like the agent misplayed this badly by trying to "talk his way out of town." The Ty Law saga should have shown him that the Patriots don't bite on that.
They played a high-stakes game of chicken, now they're facing the consequences. If Branch follows through on the game-10 threat he not only plays for free this year, but quite likely takes a hit on the next contract's value. That's a multi-million-dollar blunder.
You're right that the article focuses on tactics but I don't agree with Florio's argument.
Here is the main claim:
"The root of the problem, as we see it, is that Branch's agent opted to go public
with his efforts to squeeze more money out of the team, enlisting among others Ron Borges of the Boston Globe
to carry Branch's water. Though other players, such as Richard Seymour, have had contract squabbles with the team, their agents didn't launch a media campaign
to make the team look bad for not coughing up the coin.
In this case, Jason Chayut claimed that the Patriots crammed a five-year deal down Branch's throat, even though as we previously pointed out Chayut's firm had one second-rounder in each year after Branch who signed a five-year contract. Borges, likely at Chayut's behest, enlisted NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw to claim that New England blazed the trail of five-year take-it-or-leave-it packages for second-rounders, even though as we previously pointed out Upshaw's Raiders were the first team to roll out this specific tactic.
And that's the real tragedy here. Based on Branch's recent "everything's going to work out
" comments, he doesn't sound like a guy who wants out of New England. But his agent failed to properly understand the tactics that would work -- and the tactics that would fail -- in trying to do business with the Patriots.
It's not as if the Patriots are unique in this regard. No team wants to see and hear inflammatory comments from a player's agent in the media at a time when negotiations are occurring."
I think that Florio is too star-struck by the role of the media. His claim is that the Patriots (read here "Bill Belichick") are doing things that they otherwise wouldn't (won't do things that they otherwise would) just because they are angry at the disrespectful things that have been said by Chayut about the negotiations.
But surely the lesson that we should have learned from the Patriots dealings with Ty Law is that Belichick puts those things to one side when it comes to making a deal. It's a great, great characteristic for a businessman.
How to interpret what's going on then?
(1) Possibility one.
The Patriots have given their best offer. Chayut knows it's their best offer. He and Branch don't want to take it. Why hold out then? If Branch is determined to leave then the only issue is the franchise tag. He is holding out in the belief that it will be less likely that the franchise tag is applied. I see no evidence for that.
Dumb move by the agent.
(2) Possibility two.
Chayut does not believe that he has the Patriots' best offer but thinks that Branch holding out will get them a better one. Might he be right? The only precedent we have is Richard Seymour. At the very least, the Patriots have made things difficult for themselves by creating the belief through their dealings with Seymour that they buckle under pressure. It now becomes very important for the Patriots to resist that image. Hence they will be less inclined to increase the offer than they would have been had Branch not held out.
Once again, dumb move by the agent.