Dear posters who called me names last week, I hope you now understand why I became pessimistic last week... By allowing Deion to shop around, the Pats threw all of their leverage out the window. How? By making Branch genuinely disgruntled. YOU CAN'T KEEP A DISGRUNTLED PLAYER...regardless of his contract status. Last week, this obviously became WAY too contentious to be reconciled -- and it's now heading rapidly towards its inevitable conclusion -- a release (as per terms determined by league arbitrator). You can BLAME Chayut/Branch all you want for believing they were worth more than the FO's intial offered (ALL INITIAL OFFERS ARE LOWBALLED). Branch played hardball and "walked out of the dealership." The Pats played hardball by not countering their initial offer. But by simply deciding not to return with his tail between his legs (a risk the Pats never seemed to consider), Branch has forced the FO's hand. I do not believe he will ever play in navy and silver again. That probably makes most of you happy. But, if we'd been willing to budge at all, this was potentially avoidable. Nobody seems to be able to look at Branch's value in terms of FUTURE cap levels -- that's how Chayut was looking at it -- the Pats obviously didn't want to go there. That's business...welcome to the NFL. We'll make due without him -- Childress might be a decent fill-in -- but we would've been flat out awesome with him. Let's keep our fingers crossed on Jackson...the quicker he becomes an impact player the better.