It’s amazing how one transaction can affect another player’s contract talks, either directly or indirectly. The one transaction I am speaking of is the recent signing of Bears linebacker Lance Briggs to a one-year tender at $7.2 million for this season. It appears that this bit of news is directly in the sights of both Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel and his agent, Alonzo Shavers.
The following statement came from Shavers last night in a conversation with Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe: “The Patriots and I are working through this process, the lines of communication are open. We all have the same goal – for Asante to be in camp on time, or as close to on time as we can possibly have it.” This statement appears to be, at the very least, a slight change of heart in the direction of the contract talks for Samuel.
At one time, Samuel stated that he intended to sit out until the 10th game of the regular season, which one would think would give the Patriots the incentive to speed up the negotiations. But there’s a slight problem – the deadline for nailing down long-term extensions has long passed (July 16), so the best that Samuel can hope for is the one-year deal. And with the Briggs deal recently transacted, time is of the essence if Samuel expects to sign a deal and miss as little camp time as possible.
It would be speculative to say where these talks finally end up at, but my money says that for time’s sake, it is imperative that the Patriots and Samuel get a deal done ASAP. Samuel simply needs to take a page from the 49ers’ Nate Clements: Shut up, sign the deal, play the 2007 season, then declare yourself a free agent at season’s end. His value, assuming he puts up similar numbers like he did last season, will be high. So why jeopardize that by procrastinating?