I can't see if this has been mentioned but I think the Pats are trying to put other NFL teams in a corner.....i.e. continually overpricing players in the open market. Let's say a team like the Saints wants Branch bad and pays him the money he's looking for. The Pats say they want a #1 pick in return because he was able to get paid as one the top 7-8 WRs in the league. The problem isn't the compensation because the Saints may do the deal. The problem is the 13-15 recievers that had better stats than Branch are gonna start looking at their deals. Mayhem ensues. The chance the Pats are taking is that teams are either not in a favorable salary situation or sensible and after a week, Branch comes back empty handed.