Under terms of the CBA, a team sends a letter to a holdout player informing him that, if he does not report within 5 days, he will be placed on a Reserve List for the season. If the deadline is missed, the player's contract is tolled and he is out for the year (just like I/R). He returns the next season, still under contract. The Pats tried to do this with Terry Glenn in 2001, who was placed on the Reserve List when he failed to report within the 5 days. However, Glenn won an arbitration case to return because the arbitrator ruled the Pats should have sent the letter at the start of his holdout (they waited until he was out for a while). He ended up returning and playing in the San Diego game, before faking an injury and not playing for NE again. I wonder if the Pats will send the letter to Branch at the start of camp, thereby starting the 5 days. The risk is the player will come back disgruntled. He also may not come back at all and is out for the year. However, it would force him back right away or bring him back another year. In Branch's case, it is hard to imagine he wouldn't return to camp and miss out on free agency after the season. With Adam Schefter reporting Branch is digging in for a long holdout that might last until week 10 anyway, the 5 day letter becomes a possibility, IMO. It forces him to return to camp, or makes him come back next year.