Update [2007-7-16 8:6:42 by tommasse]:
Here's a link to the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian story in this morning's paper with additional quotes from Shavers.
* * * * * * * *The Boston Herald's John Tomase has a great story about recent developments in the Asante Samuel story.
Due to recent contracts signed by other cornerbacks in the league, if the Patriots were to franchise Samuel this year and next, Samuel would make at least $9.35 million next year. That would mean $17.1 million in guaranteed payouts (if he plays) over the next two years. That's more than Chicago Bears cornerback Nathan Vasher, who signed a 5-year, $28 million extension, would make over the next two years, and pretty close to San Francisco 49ers CB Nate Clements' $22 million.
A source also told Tomase that Samuel could end his hold out early in training camp, not so much to play immediately, but to make sure he's in shape for a late-season foray into live action. That's a little sketchy, and it's hard to predict how Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli would feel about that.
Of course, as Tomase points out, if Samuel is looking for a big payday down the road (if he doesn't get one in the next 29 hours), Samuel may be best advised to rack up numbers for an entire season, instead of for just a handful of games.
Incidentally, if Samuel held out the maximum allowable time, he would miss nine regular season games, due to the bye week, and play in seven.
Check out Tomase's story for a few other tidbits.
The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss also looks at the Samuel situation from the perspective of Daniel Graham who, like several other Patriots free agents, didn't come to terms with the team.
Update [2007-7-15 20:14:13 by tommasse]:
The Patriot Ledger's Eric McHugh says the Patriots and Samuel are close to a deal. McHugh quotes "one of Samuel's agents."
"We’re not looking to grab money and leave. We’re looking to build a future here. It’s worked (for Samuel and the Patriots so far). It’s been great. It’s been magic."
The Herald's Albert Breer quoted Samuel's main agent, Alonzo Shavers, who said both sides were working hard ahead of the deadline.
However, other outlets predicted a deal was very unlikely.