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Old 09-01-2006, 04:27 PM   #1
BlackNGold203
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Default Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com


The New England Patriots on Friday rejected trade proposals for holdout wide receiver Deion Branch, leaving the sides at a stalemate as teams prepare for their season openers next week.


In fact, the parties' stances might have grown more contentious Friday, with sources confirming that Branch and agent Jason Chayut have filed a grievance against the Patriots through the NFL Players Association. In the grievance, filed after the 4 p.m. Friday deadline passed without a trade, Branch is seeking an expeditious hearing in front of a "special master" arbitrator.


The full grounds of the grievance were not immediately clear, but it is thought Branch will contend that New England officials promised his representatives they would trade him if the Patriots received a reasonable offer. Chayut is apparently prepared to argue, if a grievance hearing is convened, that trade offers made by the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks were appropriate and of a fair market value, given recent deals involving other NFL wide receivers.


The team issued a two-sentence statement Friday that read, "No trade has been consummated. Deion Branch remains under contract to the New England Patriots." The team had no comment on the grievance.


Branch had earlier reached agreements with the Seahawks and Jets on what ESPN.com has learned was a six-year, $39 million contract. The contract included a combined $13 million in guaranteed signing and option bonuses. Under the contract, Branch would have earned nearly $23 million in the first three years of the deal.


Of course, the contract agreements with the Seahawks and Jets are essentially rendered moot now.


ESPN.com's Michael Smith reported Monday that, according to several league sources, the Patriots were seeking two first-round draft choices for Branch. Other league sources told ESPN.com that New England might have considered dealing Branch for first- and middle-round choices. It is thought the teams involved did not offer New England more than a second-round draft pick and that the Patriots did not come close to making a deal.

Who takes the next step toward a possible reconciliation, with the sides seemingly at an impasse, remains to be seen.


People close to Branch insist he will not crack and will report to the Patriots for only the final six games of the season, enough to earn an accrued year toward the pension, and to qualify him for unrestricted free agency next spring.


Although last week's move by the Patriots was surprising, it also reflected the state of discussions between the sides. There has been virtually no meaningful dialogue for weeks and Branch, the team's leading receiver in 2005, remains out of camp and is being fined $14,000 a day during his absence.


It is thought that, at some point in the offseason, the Patriots offered two extension proposals: a three-year deal worth $18.75 million with $8 million of that guaranteed, and a five-year extension at $31 million, with $11 million in bonuses.


Branch, 27, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.05 million in 2006, the final season of the five-year contract he signed as a second-round choice in the 2002 draft. And the base salary is only that high because Branch performed well enough to trigger an "escalator" in the contract that raised his compensation by $500,000.


Team officials indicated as far back as March that securing an extension with Branch was a priority, but the sides have been unable to strike a deal and talks seem at a dead end.


Branch is coming off a career year in which he had 78 receptions for 998 yards and five touchdowns. For his career, Branch has 213 catches for 2,744 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has appeared in 53 games and logged 42 starts. He earned most valuable player honors in Super Bowl XXXIX when he tied a title game record with 11 receptions, netting 133 yards.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

Yep unfortunately things are panning out pretty much as expected.

Here is the scenario as I see it.

1. The player is under contract and is obligated to play for the team for a certain period of time.

2. Despite this, the player chooses to disregard his contractual obligations and fails to report.

3. The team, which was under no obligation to do so, nevertheless offered the player a contract extension for $19M over 3 years, and as another alternative for 5 years and $30M.

4. The player does not even respond to these offers with a counteroffer.

5. The team voluntarily extends the privilege to the player to find for himself a trade to another team if the team which owns the player's rights can receive what they consider fair and reasonable compensation. Of course the team is under no obligation to make this offer and is under no obligation to accept any offer EVEN IF, in their sole judgment, they do not feel is fair and reasonable and in their best interests.

6. The player files a grievance against the team for supposedly violating the terms of an imaginary agreement.

I cannot imagine that the NFLPA will take Branch's side on this - he still has time to run on his current contract.

As expected a division rival came in with a very generous offer to the player knowing that the Patriots would disregard their derisory offer of a 2nd rounder.

This way, it re-inforces Branch's opinion that he is worth more than the Patriots are offering - and the Jets know they wont be called to honor that offer.

At this stage it looks like he is sitting out the first 10 games.

NM
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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

the Patriots were seeking two first-round draft choices for Branch.



New England is toast on this one.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

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the Patriots were seeking two first-round draft choices for Branch.



New England is toast on this one.
I looked at that as a starting point for negotiations - what the Jets reportedly offered ( a 2nd rounder) was so far away from that you can only think they werent after the player at all.

Just trying to stir up some more unrest.

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They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

The NFLPA will take his side..and here's why.....

You are correct...he has a contract.....but....

if a player's team decides to cut him...they owe him nothing...the only guaranteed money in any NFL contract is the signing bonus....

So..the NFLPA will counter with..."why should a player honor a contract when the team has the arbitrary right to cancel said contract with no reason or cause??"

This has been the contention between players and management since the current (and new) CBA has been in place....
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

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Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
I looked at that as a starting point for negotiations - what the Jets reportedly offered ( a 2nd rounder) was so far away from that you can only think they werent after the player at all.

Just trying to stir up some more unrest.

NM
branch could have a shot if it goes to an arbitrator....

Im sure they will contest that other players with his credentials have been traded for a 2nd round pick..or a little more...and they will go on to say that the Pats offer of "letting him come up with a trade" was not made in good faith, being that they are asking for unreasonable compensation...

Personally?..I think they both are wrong...but I'm telling ya..as soon as the NFLPA and Upshaw get involved...advantage Branch...
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

But ... a contract is a contract. As the contracted one, you either have to buy your way out or be released because of breach. No? Did he breach? Did they?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

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But ... a contract is a contract. As the contracted one, you either have to buy your way out or be released because of breach. No? Did he breach? Did they?
his choice Fire....play and get paid..or sit and dont get paid...

Hey LITP...what is the actual deal here?..its got to be more than money...whats Branch so pissed off about???
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

I think the best test case is Owens - he had to buy out his contract in Philly if I remember right?

Its not as if he is a restricted free agent anyway is it?

He has a contract - if he wont play he can ride the pine for the remainder of the season until he sees the rest of it out.

NM
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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pats turn down trades; Branch filing grievance

Ok ... so we agree on that LItP and BNG203. The man has a contract. There is no breach on either side but Branch isn't happy. Anybody can buy out his contract if they think he's worth it, but if they don't, and he won't, then he sits out the season. Yes?
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