Samuel Skips Minicamp
CB Threatens Holdout until Week 10
New England Patriots franchise-tagged cornerback Asante Samuel promised fans they wouldn't see him in a Patriots uniform until at least Week 10, and his agent reiterated Samuel's stance.
"He's not coming to camp until a contract resolution can be reached," agent Alonzo Shavers told the Boston Herald. "Nothing more can be said. His status has not changed. There has been no movement toward a deal."
The Patriots opened mandatory minicamp this morning, but Samuel was not there. No did he attend Marquise Hill's wake or funeral with his possibly former teammates.
"I'm not coming to camp," Samuel told The Boston Globe. "I'm not showing up until the 10th week. I feel unappreciated. The way they're treating me is just wrong."
The franchise tag guarantees Samuel at minimum a 1-year, $7.79 million deal, but he has thus far refused that. If the two sides do not come to an agreement by 4 p.m. on July 15, that offer will be the best he can do until next year. According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, he will be obligated to take the 1-year offer or hold out the season.
Samuel can return in Week 10 for a prorated portion of the $7.79 million and earn a season toward free agency and his pension and other benefits.
Technically, Samuel is not under contract so the mandatory minicamp is not mandatory for him.
Samuel's threat could spark negotiations anew. The Patriots thus far have not promised not to franchise Samuel again in 2008 as they promised Richard Seymour during a similar standoff two summers ago.
Players have adopted a diplomatic and realistic (if that's possible) view of the situation, understanding Samuel's position, but agreeing that they have to prepare for the season assuming Samuel won't be there. Check out the Herald and Globe stories for quotes from defensive teammates Vince Wilfork, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Rosevelt Colvin.
Samuel, 26 with four seasons under his belt, had a tremendous 2006 with 10 regular-season interceptions and two more for touchdowns in the playoffs.
While the Patriots are in far better shape as a team 2 months and 4 days from the start of the season, the situation at cornerback this year is more serious than that at wide receiver last year. For one, the defensive backfield has been plague (and that's really an understatement) with injuries the last few years, and Samuel has been the one consistent constant. The d-backs are also literally the last line of defense and, unlike receivers who can be greatly helped by the skill of the quarterback, get very little assistance from other positions on the field.
So Samuel saw how well (money-wise) this tactic worked for Deion Branch last year. It's clear where his priorities lie. Among the questions that need to be answer are: Who wants to pay Samuel Nate Clements' piles of cash (Clements signed for 8 years, $80 million, while Dre Bly landed a 5-year, $33 million deal), considering he's had just one extraordinary year? And how much of that is because of the Patriots' system, and how much is Samuel's individual talent? Sure, he was a "shutdown corner" last year, but can he repeat that performance here or elsewhere?
I think the Patriots did pretty well without Branch last year, but with Tom Brady behind center, one receiver doesn't have the dramatic impact of a top-flight cornerback.
One of New England's calling cards the last six years has been defensive dominance (mostly due to the front seven), despite injuries and generally poor tackling in the defensive secondary. New England needs to get Samuel on board by 4 p.m. on July 15 or the upgrades at all the other positions could be wasted. The secondary will be the weakest link, and that's makes Lombardi trophies more difficult to acquire.
How will Samuel situaiton be resolved?
This poll is closed
Patriots will sign him before July 15.
Samuel will sign 1-year deal before the season.
Samuel will hold out until Week 10.
Sameul will hold out entire season.
Patriots will trade Samuel before the season.