I really doubt that either side is too worked up about this situation. It's just business and they are playing out their hands. Not real big stakes from the Pat's side as I see it - a holdout for 10 games is not big deal to them. Nor to Deion... as long as the Pat's offer is still available. I don't really mind Branch sitting out for 10 weeks. We'll make the playoffs anyhow and I want him to be healthy for the post season. 6 reg season games is more than enough to get the timing back and we would have a better chance of having him healthy for the season. He can't afford to dog it or else he'll get a reputation and his FA value goes down. What a nice infusion it would be to get him for the stretch and post season, we could add new wrinkles to the offense on which there would be no film for the opponents to study, etc. His sitting out wouldn't be that bad at all, IMHO There's no real downside to the holdout from Branch's perspective either if he thinks he can get the Pat's to extend him at the original offer amount at any point. If that's the case, why wouldn't he hold out? At worst, he's paying $1 million to avoid 10 games that could reduce his ability to get a big contract next year. Branch's history shows that he is a fragile dude, so that might be a good bargain.. He's established the credentials to get a big payday, and he's trying to make damn sure that he has a chance to grab that brass ring. He could do that by extending now, but there is little downside to trying to play out the hand. He seems to think that the Pat's offer is low by roughly $10 million compared to the open market. Maybe this gambit only nets him $2 million (or maybe none at all) but why not try? If he thinks he can get the extension later on, what is the downside of this holdout? It's doubtful that it effects his value as a free agent and the fine amounts are insignificant compared to the potential payoff. The one option that does not make fiinancial sense for Deion is to play this year for $1 Million. The risk of injury that precludes the big payoff is too great. In Deion's case, even a small injury (3-4 games) hurts his market price considerably since it establishes a pattern of injury not befitting a top-tier paycheck. Or what if he just has an off year? Maybe he doesn't want to risk the current reputation he has (in terms of performance). Option 1 - Extend Come in and play. What was the offer? 5 years $31 Million? How much guaranteed? 8-9 Million? (Please correct me on this) Option 2 - Sit out till game 10. Roughly no pay this year. Either franchised next year or hit FA. Avoid 10 games when you could get a career ending injury. Of those two option, I could see why Branch might choose #2. AT WORST, he's trading $1 million to avoid 10 games in which he could get injured. At best, he gets a better offer. Even in the worst case scenario, he comes out ahead compared to the current Pat's offer IF he can make it through the games without injury. Franchise tag guarantees him just about the same as the Pats offer AND if he gets through that year, he gets to go for a bigger paycheck as a FA in 2008. Or he gets to FA next year and will get more than $1 Million more than the Pat's current offer on the open market next year. I'd guess that Deion continues to sit out. Again, unless the PAt's have given a deadline for the extension offer, he has nothing to lose and could gain leverage if that Pat's start losing. If the Pat's start losing to the point where it looks like the playoffs could be in question, they might sweeten his offer a bit to close the difference and give him more guaranteed money in order to get him on the field earlier in the season and have a chance at another superbowl this year. As Pats lose, he gains some leverage. As Pats win, the chance for him to gain leverage dissappears. In this case, I think he will very much want to extend. At best, he comes back on their current terms. He avoids the risk of playing 6 games + post season, getting hurt and losing out on the big payday. The question I have is "How long will the pat's leave the offer on the table?" The posture the Pats should take is that if he doesn't sign now, the current offer is off the table... maybe they outline a specific schedule for the offer to depreciate over the 10 games... What if we go 8-0? Do we keep Deion's offer (or something essentially the same) on the table? What message does that send? No penalty for holding out? So to me it seems that, unless the PAt's have put an expiration date on the offer - it boils down to just how fearful Deion is about injury and whether the Pat's are able to win without him. *** One question comes to my mind. People have joked that we should make Deion play on the line or do some other job that would make him prone to get hurt. What ARE the rules on that? CAN the Pat's say, "You're going to be a gunner and kr as well as wr?" What if the player says "No"?