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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Dec 05 - 02:00 PM | Wed Dec 06 - 09:55 AM

Ask PFW: Samuel says

Just as New England’s preparations for April’s draft were hitting the home stretch along came a bump in the Patriots offseason road last week when Asante Samuel voiced his displeasure with the current state of his contract negotiations with the team.

Hi Guys...great job your doing there. About Samuel, it looks to me that he is pulling a Branch. He only had one great year. For all we know it good have been a once in a lifetime year. If he thinks he is worth the kind of money paid to Clements (who wasn't worth that money), he is sadly mistaken. What is wrong with 7.5 million anyway? It is a third of what Clements got guaranteed, then if he has another good year he will have proven that he is for real a maybe be worth top gun money. Anyway, if he doesn't want to play here for the 7.5 million maybe we can trade him to the Skins for their first-round pick. What do you guys think?
Rick Langis

With recent reports that the Washington Redskins may have a real interest in Asante Samuel, just imagine the possibilities. The Pat's would get the number 6 overall pick (Johnson, Landry, Peterson, or maybe Willis?) giving Washington our number 24th or 28th plus the Skins throw in Shawn Springs to even out the trade? What do you think? Draft mania is in full effect, great work guys!MM4

All these pro athletes that complain about money and not being paid a lot always say "I have to do what's best for my family" not sure if you guys agree but for over 7 million for a year and I think I could do pretty good for my family. (thanks for listening) I'm sure you guys have been swamped with questions about this guy. With Samuel do you think its gonna get to a Branch like situation? He has been good for the Pats in the past but this last year he was great. Other players we let go (for the similar reasons) had good or even great seasons when they left, but they were older (Law, Milloy). Samuel is still pretty young. A second question do you think it would be a smart move to let him go?Gary Coe

If the Patriots and Samuel get farther apart on a long-term contract do you think the pressure to draft a cornerback in the first round will increase? With the large contracts this year's free agent cornerbacks have signed it could be more important to have a young talented cornerback locked up if Samuel does leave, hold out or ask to be traded.David Playe

Another holdout pending? Come on Guys, when you send a message to a player that your willing to give a LB a monster contract who has never been a Patriot, but want to nickel-dime another standout Patriot player in Asante Samuel please don't make the same mistake twice. Stability & dependability is what is needed in the defensive backfield for the Patriots and Samuel is the only DB who is. Randall Gay, Eugene Wilson, Rodney..are you depending on these 3 guys to be dependable? I hope you aren't, for as much as I would love to see all 3 healthy they just can't seem to stay that way. Please don't let another star in the making get away.Mark Pavkov

Ok, here's what I don't get. What's going on with all these holdouts and people being greedy for money? I understand that people want to make the most they can, but hasn't the Patriots reputation been built on the idea that they are a team? I mean, take Tom Brady for instance, the kid has proven that he should be the highest paid player in football, and I have never heard one comment about him not wanting to play because he is underpaid. In fact wasn't there some story about how he took a pay cut in order to better the team. In my opinion, people like Branch, and now even Samuel, should be let go because all they are doing is bringing down the image of this great ball club. You may be worth a lot of money, but isn't winning championships and being a part of history worth a lot more. I think that's how our boy Tom feels, but then again, maybe he's just to busy being better than everyone else.Travis Farewell

So, young Samuel isn't happy and could be on his way out, and the Pats answer is 34 yr. old Tory James!? If that's the case I hope they buy him a super-charged engine for his motorized cart.Ryan M.

Has there been any indication as to what Asante Samuel and his agent are asking with regards to a long-term contract? By no means am I saying the Pats should just give him what he wants, but if his request is even somewhat reasonable, why don't they just sign him and move on? Is the contract Dre Bly signed with Denver a fair comparison for a player like Samuel? Great job guys, thanks for all your insight.Shane
Auburn, WA

Now that another holdout is developing with Asante Samuel, once again I question the Patriots policy regarding re-signing players to extensions. Personally, I think that they overpaid for Adalius Thomas, Wes Welker and Kyle Brady in free agency. Now, I don't know what their evaluation is of Samuel, but if they feel that he is a true number one corner, shouldn't they re-sign him, a player who knows their system and is playoff tested? I realize that linebacker was a need, but so is corner. I don't blame Samuel for being upset. Thomas gets around 20 million in guaranteed that should have gone to Samuel. Why are teams so hesitant to re-sign their free-agents? Most of the time they let them go and spend the same or more in money and picks to replace them. I don't want the Redskins sixth pick...I want to see Samuel as a Pat for the next six years.Ty Harris

Here we go again. I am saddened by the news that the Samuel contract neg. have hit stalemate status. A lot of us sat around last year reading about Branch's hold out with a sense of security that it was all going to get worked out. As we all know it didn't. Are we about to see round 2? What is Samuel looking for, and what are the Pats offering? Please break down what the heck is going on.Jesse M.

I thought I'd add to the flood of Asante questions. What's going on?!?! This is all too familiar a situation for us fans, I'm curious why you think this keeps happening to the Pats. Was the reported $6mil/year offer a slap in the face after giving Thomas 7 /year? Is there anyone stupid enough to give Asante 10/year? What a mess! Make it sense of it all oh wise ones!Will Bortolin

Where to begin? Another offseason and another contract situation for one of the Patriots top players. But it's not just the Patriots. This is the way the NFL works. (Lance Briggs and the Bears aren't exactly chugging beers together these days.) Players generally want as much freedom and money as they can get their hands on. Teams need to balance a budget, make tough decisions and use whatever tools are at their disposal to build long-term success. I know it's hard to maintain that open mind as a fan when it's your team that's struggling to deal with an important player, but it's the truth. As we hear so very often the NFL is a business and that's not always easy for fans to deal with.
Samuel is coming off his best year, as a former fourth-round pick has "only" made around $2 million to date in his NFL career and is watching other top cornerbacks collect ridiculous bonus checks. He wants his. As the tattoo on his arm says he wants to "Get Paid." I can understand that.
On the flip side the Patriots are looking at a guy who had a breakout season a year ago, had the franchise tag at their disposal and probably aren't overly anxious to write a $20 million check. Nor should they be. Make a mistake on a contract that big, even with the greater limits of the salary cap under the new CBA, and it can set a franchise back a few years. That's a lot of pressure. Was 2006 a step forward for Samuel in what will be an All-Pro career? Or was it a push for a contract that could be followed by a drop off in work and production? Those are tough questions to answer.
The obvious Samuel comparison this spring is to Nate Clements. The six-year veteran and former Bill cashed in for eight years and a reported $80 million with more than $22 million in guarantees, although the actual payout of the deal could fall some $20 million short of the total figure reported. In his six seasons in Buffalo Clements never missed a game while totaling 23 interceptions and 432 tackles. He spent the 2006 season as Buffalo's franchise player under an agreement that the team would not place the tag on him again this spring. And soon after unrestricted free agency opened Clements inked the largest contract by a defensive player in the history of football to join the 49ers.
In his four seasons Samuel has missed five games while totaling 16 interceptions and 188 tackles. As New England's franchise player his negotiations with other teams, those unlikely to part with a pair of first-round picks as compensation for signing the cornerback, have been limited as Clements were a year ago in Buffalo.
So how does this play out? Will Samuel get the trade that he said he wants should the Patriots not be willing to pay him what he's worth on the open market? Is he looking for the more than $30 million over the first three years of a new deal as has been reported? What are the generally tight-lipped Patriots offering at this point, an offer that Samuel deemed low enough to warrant his recent public comments? Is a trade a legitimate possibly and what would teams be willing to part with to acquire Samuel's services? What would they then pay him? Are the Redskins really interested, as has been reported, and would the sixth overall pick be included in any deal with Washington?
That's a lot of questions and there simply aren't a lot of answers right now. Personally I tend to think Samuel's 2006 season was a byproduct of his development as a young player. I don't expect him to regress significantly if/when he gets a long-term deal. I think he still has plenty of goals to accomplish in terms of Pro Bowl and All Pro honors. He has a true cornerback ego and that will drive him to be a top performer as much as a drive for big money has in recent years. I could be wrong, but I think Samuel is going to be a good-to-great corner in the NFL for the next few years moving forward. Would I give him $20 million in bonus dollars? Probably. If that's what it takes to keep a top corner, then I would probably do it. I'd also listen to any trade offers that included top-10 picks in the draft. That's a spot where Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli could find a big time impact player, probably a better talent than Samuel. That's worth at least a listen. But let's face it, if Samuel isn't a part of the New England secondary moving forward it would leave a serious hole at cornerback. He's proven he can succeed in the Patriots system and was a big part of the team's defensive success at times last season. And even with Samuel in uniform, the depth at that position is a bit questionable at this point.
That said the Patriots will probably have to prepare for a long and based on recent events potentially tumultuous negotiation with Samuel and his reps. That could mean the team will need to look to the cornerback spot earlier or a bit more closely in the draft later this month. While I thought all along the team needed to draft a cornerback, if there's a belief that Samuel could holdout to open the season the team may need to find another starting caliber cornerback early in the draft.
The bottom line is the Patriots have the resources to sign Samuel to a long-term deal if they want to. And Samuel has the right to ask for the moon in these contract negotiations, likely his biggest NFL payday. Both sides seem to continue to want to get a long-term deal done in New England. There are millions of ways the next few months could play out, just are there are literally millions of ways that a deal could get done. The NFL is a business. Both the players and the teams know it. It seems, sometimes, that the only ones who forget that are the fans and the media. In a perfect world everyone would be happy and get what they wanted. Unfortunately, that's not the case in the business of the real world and even less often the case in the business of the NFL.
Andy Hart

Thanks for all you do. Out of all this pre-draft talk, I haven't heard anyone talk about David Ball. Is there any chance that the Pats would want to draft this New England native? I know that they did send someone to UNH for their pro day and that he broke Jerry Rice's record for touchdowns. With the record that he holds, why hasn't anyone considered him for a 5th or 6th round pick? Donte' [Stallworth] only signed a one year contract and who knows if Jackson will ever feel healthy enough to play. There's always room for depth at WR. Thanks.
Andrew Lovgren

Ball was at the NFL Combine but tends to be a bit underwhelming in such events based on timings and measurables. His greatest asset is his production, but to make it at the next level he'll have to get NFL teams to believe he can be productive despite the huge jump he'll face in competition. Most scouts seem to think his lack of speed (4.6-4.7 in the 40) and quickness make Ball a borderline NFL talent. HE should compete for a roster spot as a late-round pick or priority free agent, but I wouldn't expect much beyond that. While I do think the Patriots, who attended Ball's pro day, could be in line to add a mid or later round wide receiver, I'm not sure Ball would fit in with what the team would be looking for. Again, though, it's hard to ignore his production and the fact that he passed a guy named Rice in the receiving record books.
Andy Hart

I haven't heard any news on Junior Seau. Has he retired? Is he a free agent? Is he on the Pats roster? I know he isn't the player he used to be but I think he aided the Pats last year especially on first and second down. It seems like this might be the last year for a lot of Patriot greats like Harrison, Brown, and Bruschi; it seems fitting to have Seau back as well for one last chance at a ring.Terry Jackson

Technically Seau is a free agent after coming out of a short retirement to sign a one-year deal in New England last fall. He's already expressed a desire to return to play in 2007 and based on his production last season (70 tackles in 11 games) he still has something to offer a defense. My guess is the Patriots will wait until after the draft to decide whether a veteran linebacker like Seau or someone else is still needed heading into training camp. If the team lands a draft pick at linebacker who could contribute right away, then maybe there will not be room for a Seau return. But if not, I still think Seau could help as a rotational guy at inside linebacker. Either way, we'll probably find out sometime after the draft.
Andy Hart

Jason Nobrega

There is always room here at Ask PFW for a fellow Dartmouth Indian. There aren't too many of us around, so we have to stick together. As for Harrison, he'll be ready to go for training camp as according to him he actually would have been able to play had the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl last winter. But the real question is whether he'll be able to hold up for a full season. He's now had three pretty severe injuries over the last two seasons and at the age of 34 is more of a health-related question mark than ever. It's hard to doubt Harrison based on what he's been able to come back from over the last few years. But it's also hard to count on him to be the team's playmaking leader in the secondary for a full season this fall. I hope I'm wrong and lord knows Harrison will do his best to prove me and all the other doubters wrong.
Andy Hart

Hey Guys, great job. At 24 would you rather take Posluszny or Beason? Your thoughts on Weddle? From everything that is written, he appears to be an intelligent, team-oriented guy who can play a variety of positions on the field. In short, a Belichick type guy. Is he the real deal or jack-of-all-trades, master of none? Or is it just 28 is too high and he won't last until the third? Thanks.Tim Cullen

I would take Beason any day. I think he has a greater upside as a professional and I'm not too high on Posluszny. It's hard to ignore his production at Penn State, but I think he's a step slow. I think he could be a solid pro, but won't be the star he was in college. I'm also not too high on Weddle. I thought he came across as cocky at the Combine. He does a lot of different things, I'm just not sure he does any of them at the level of an NFL starter. As a third-round pick I think he's a nice player. Anything too much higher than that and I think it's too far to reach for a player with his makeup.
Andy Hart

Hey, you guys at PFW rock, I always read ask PFW. Here's my Question; is it possible for us to package one of our 1st rounders and another pick (not the other 1st round pick) and trade down enough to get Patrick Willis, and keep the other 1st rounder to get either Meriweather, Nelson, or Griffin?Adam Smith

My chart tells me that the Pats could move up to the number 19 pick if they were to trade their number 24 pick and their third round pick. They could possibly move to number 18 if they threw in their fourth round pick as well. If Patrick Willis were available at 18 or 19, do you think they might do that?Jack Greguoli

I do think the Patriots will consider moving up if a player they target begins to fall in the draft. Any trade is possible for a team with a pair of first-round picks and don't forget that trades could very well include picks in next year's draft as well. New England could trade up for a target player or decide the value isn't there later in the first round and trade down and out of the round all together. I think anything is possible at this point. This isn't the best of drafts and many believe that some of the players rated in the 10-20 range are comparable to guys in the 20-40 range. If that's the case then a lot of the draft will revolve around specific teams' needs, systems and fits as well as a league-wide scramble to find the best values throughout the draft. But the bottom line is if the Patriots have a chance to get Willis in the middle of the draft I think they would be very interested in making it happen.
Andy Hart

If available, what are the chances the Patriots select Tight End Greg Olsen at pick #24? I think he is an enormous talent that can be better then Jeremy Shockey.Rian Bednarz

I would be surprised to see the Patriots take Olsen. He's a very good talent and should be a playmaker in the NFL. But New England has plenty of other needs to fill and I don't think Olsen's value in the later part of the first round is great enough to warrant selecting him over some of the other players likely to be available at that time. I also happen to think David Thomas is going to surprise a lot of people in 2007 and should combine with Benjamin Watson to give the Patriots a pair of playmakers at the tight end spot. I'll never say never when it comes to a Belichick/Pioli draft pick, but I would be very surprised to hear Olsen's name called by the Patriots at either 24 or 28.
Andy Hart

*Note: PFW will be doing a draft blog, starting a few days before the draft kicks off. We'll be posting our thoughts on everything draft related, including all the bad picks made by the Detroit Lions. Fans are welcome to participate by posting their opinions as well. The blog will be updated non-stop during the draft, so be sure to check it out. A link to the blog will be on, so everyone will be able to access it easily.

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