The start of training camp is 19 days away, but there’s another date on the calendar that’s even closer for the New England Patriots and cornerback Asante Samuel: July 16. 4:00 p.m. next Monday is the deadline for the team and Samuel to come to terms on a multiyear contract. Otherwise, Samuel can either play out this season on the one-year, $7.79-million franchise tender, or choose to hold out.
“The clock is ticking and we’re hoping we can get back to the drawing board, if you will, but nothing’s happened yet,” agent Jay Bianco said to The Providence Journal this week. “There’s been phone messages to see if we can open dialogue.” Bianco’s partner, Alonzo Shavers, has been in constant contact with the Patriots’ brass in recent weeks, trying to reopen the lines of communication. Bianco noted that many of the team officials have been on vacation recently, which prevented the sides from getting to the bargaining table.
Last month, Samuel told the Boston Globe that he was not happy with the way he was being treated by the team and stated that he might hold out until the 10th week of the year, the last date players can get credit for an accrued season. But doing that would mean Samuel will also leave more than half of that $7.79 million – nearly $5 million – on the table. Samuel’s deal is just one of the tasks New England has to take care of; there is also the matter of signing its draft picks in ample time to get them into training camp.