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  • Watson opts to let agent go amid stalled talks on deal

    Condon runs out of time in negotiations
    Watson opts to let agent go amid stalled talks on deal
    By Michael Smith, Globe Staff | August 14, 2004

    FOXBOROUGH -- Asked if he was being interrupted when reached at his home in Rock Hill, S.C., late Thursday night, Benjamin Watson answered no. The Patriots' rookie tight end said he was just thinking. Apparently, his thoughts brought him to the conclusion that it was time for his holdout to end.

    The standoff between the Super Bowl champions and agent Tom Condon over the length of Watson's first contract ended yesterday with the first-round draft choice ending his professional relationship with Condon.

    The Patriots would not move from their insistence on a six-year deal, and Condon refused to negotiate anything longer than a five-year pact. Since neither side would give, Watson did, giving the responsibility for his representation to Atlanta-based Pat Dye.

    With Dye, who negotiated a five-year deal for fifth-round pick P.K. Sam, now on the case, Watson is expected to sign for six years and report to training camp by the end of next week.

    Watson, a finance major at Georgia, has gotten a hard lesson in the business of pro football. Time is money, and his holdout has cost him both. Because he's missed the first 16 days of camp, the bonus money included in the Patriots' proposal has been reduced from roughly $3.8 million to around $3.3 million.

    "If you're a football player, this time of year, that's what you're supposed to be doing," said Watson, who had plans to watch last night's exhibition opener against the Eagles. "That's what you want, to be playing in your first game. Mine has just been delayed. I'll still have a first game, just not [last night]."

    Told there were indications that a deal would be consummated sometime next week, Watson said, "Things are definitely looking better right now. It looks like it's going to be sooner rather than later. I'd say that's definitely a possibility."

    What was not, Watson said, was his sitting out the entire season and reentering the draft next year. "I don't think that would have helped me," he said.

    Condon, who said the sides were never close to an agreement, did not believe it to be in Watson's best interest to sign for longer than five years. Though first-round picks Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, and Vince Wilfork each signed with the Patriots for six, the Condon camp kept pointing to fellow tight end Daniel Graham's five-year deal and claiming a double standard, though Graham was not asked to sign for six years. In Watson's case, the 23-year-old would enter unrestricted free agency at 30.

    Also, Condon may have been reluctant to agree to New England's terms for fear that rival agents would use it against him in client recruiting.

    "They weren't coming off six, and I wasn't coming off five," Condon said yesterday. "I just wasn't willing to do a six-year contract. Ben is a great guy and I expect him to be a tremendous football player. It's just unfortunate for him that he has to do a six-year deal.

    "He understands that a six-year deal is not a positive thing for him. He also understands that no one else within 10 picks of him has a six-year deal. In the last 12 years, there's been only one six-year deal in the last quarter of the first round."

    Condon and Watson were complimentary of each other, and Condon said Watson would not be charged for his services. On Thursday night, while he wouldn't confirm that he was preparing to part with Condon, Watson said, "If I did, it would not be because I'm unhappy with Tom or IMG. It would not be because I didn't think they could do the job."

    The Patriots, who don't include voidable years in their contracts, believed they were offering Watson good value in exchange for the extra year. They offered more than 20 percent of a five-year contract for the 32d pick in their six-year proposal, which included incentives that could have increased Watson's $1.3 million base salary for the final year to the $4.5 million neighborhood.

    Watson clearly was resigned Thursday night to playing on the Patriots' terms. "Everybody in my section of the round got five years, but if the Patriots want to do things differently, that's their prerogative," he said. "If they want me to sign for four, five, or six years, it's nothing I can control. Even if your agent wants you to get what's right compared to what everybody else in my position is getting, it boils down to what the team you're with wants to give you."

    Watson was concerned that he had given his teammates the wrong impression about him. "My first goal is to get there. My second goal is to show the guys that this whole holdout thing wasn't about greed," he said. "I don't want them to think that I'm some hot-shot rookie, because that's not the case. I feel like I need to let them know I'm not going to be a distraction to the team."

    Armed and ready

    Quarterback Jim Miller, who underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder during the offseason and wasn't supposed to begin throwing until the end of this month, started throwing several days ago, putting him well ahead of schedule. The 33-year-old Miller is said to be throwing 25-30 yards with good velocity. He could return soon enough to compete for the backup job to Tom Brady, and is on course to be available for the start of the season. He did not play last night . . . Right tackle Tom Ashworth has not been practicing because of a bulging disk in his back, a condition he's had since college. It began to bother him toward the end of the offseason program, and the Patriots are said to be taking it easy with him as a precaution. Ashworth doesn't need surgery . . . David Givens (leg) is expected to return to practice this week . . . The Eagles endured a rough night in the injury department. Word from Gillette was that the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl may have lost three players for the season (names were unavailable) . . . Wilfork on his first game: "I think it was a good first day. A lot to improve on and a long way to go. I recognized blocking schemes and what they're trying to do to me. I wasn't perfect, but I've got something to build on. To be honest with you, I'm satisfied and very surprised with my play. But there's still a long way to go." . . . The Patriots extended their exhibition-season winning streak to eight games, tying the club record set from Aug. 8, 1977 to Aug. 4, 1979 . . . Last night's opposing coaches are the winningest in the league since 2001. Bill Belichick's Patriots have gone 40-14 (.741 winning percentage), while Andy Reid's Eagles have posted a 39-16 (.709) mark the past three seasons. . . . Belichick improved to 4-0 against the Eagles (preseason and regular season).

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  • Nick
    Patriots and G Logan Mankins agree to contract terms
    by Nick
    Mankins accepts 5-year, $6.4M contract
    Monday, July 25, 2005 news services

    The Patriots became the first team to sign a first-round pick by reaching a five-year, $6.4 million deal with guard Logan Mankins, the 32nd pick in the 2005 draft.

    Mankins reached agreement late Sunday night and signed the contract. Including a signing and option bonuses along with a $350,000 roster bonus this year, Mankins received $4 million in upfront guarantees.

    The key to the agreement was getting the Patriots not to force a six-year contract on him. Last year, the Patriots signed tight end Daniel Graham, their first-round choice in 2004, to a six-year contract. His agent at the time, Tom Condon, refused to sign a contract that long for a pick that low in the first round and resigned as Graham's agent.

    Graham didn't sign until Aug. 16, after an 18-day holdout. He played in the season opener, was inactive for the second game and was then placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

    Negotiations heated up Friday when Mankins' agent, Frank Bauer, worked with the team to resolve the length of the contract. For the Patriots, it was important to get Mankins into camp on time because he is expected to be a starter as a rookie.

    The 307-pound Mankins played at Fresno State, where he blocked for quarterback David Carr, now with the Houston Texans. Mankins, who started 40 games in four college seasons, did not allowing a sack in his final college season.

    The Patriots rookies reported Sunday night. Mankins was in Foxboro and ready to sign the contract once it was completed.

    His signing brings all seven of the team's 2005 draft choices under contract as the Super Bowl champions prepare for their first full-squad workout of training camp on Friday.

    On Sunday, the Patriots signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Brandon "Bam" Childress and released rookie running back Earl Charles and first-year defensive tackle Demarco McNeil.
    -07-25-2005, 04:40 PM
  • laram0
    Patriots, Samuel miss deadline on agreement
    by laram0
    (, Wire reports) 7/17/07

    This sets the stage for a possible hold out. Assante Samuel skipped the team's mandatory minicamp last month and has said he intends to hold out until the 10th week of the regular season.


    This story is a flashback to exactly the same approach Deion Branch took.
    -07-17-2007, 08:29 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Wilfork inks with Pats
    by DJRamFan
    By Len Pasquarelli

    Striking early to ensure the on-time arrival in training camp of a potential rookie starter, the New England Patriots on Monday reached a contract agreement with defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, the earlier of the team's two first-round draft choices.

    The 21st overall selection, Wilfork is just the second first-round player to reach contract terms, joining Houston Texans linebacker Jason Babin, the 27th player chosen. The former University of Miami star is the third of the Patriots' eight choices in the 2004 draft to strike an agreement.

    Still unsigned among New England's choices is fellow first-rounder Benjamin Watson, a tight end from the University of Georgia, and the final player taken in the opening stanza. Unlike most teams, which sign their later draft picks first, the Patriots have concentrated on the top of their bounty. With Wilfork and second-round defensive end Marquise Hill having agreements, the team now has deals with two of its top three picks.

    Wilfork, 22, will sign a six-year deal believed to be worth about $9 million-$9.5 million in "base" numbers, but which could eventually reach about $18 million if he cashes in on so-called "escalators" in the latter years of the contract. The signing bonus is $3 million but, counting a second-tier option bonus in 2005 and a roster bonus for this season, the bonuses total nearly $6 million.

    There are also guarantees on base salaries in some of the early years of the contract.

    A potentially dominating inside player, Wilfork is expected to compete with veteran Keith Traylor for the starting nose tackle spot in the New England 3-4 defensive front. There is little doubt the former Hurricanes star will log considerable playing time, even if he isn't the starter, as the Patriots like to rotate their linemen.

    Wilfork is another key as the Pats continue to infuse youth into their defensive line. New England has chosen defensive linemen in the first round in three of the last four drafts and now has one of the NFL's youngest, but also deepest units.

    Although he didn't become a full-time starter until 2003, Wilfork was a disruptive force at Miami, appearing in 36 games in three seasons, and starting 14 of them. He finished his career with 148 tackles, including 37 for losses, 14 sacks, 42 quarterback pressures, five forced fumbles and three recoveries.

    Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for
    -07-20-2004, 08:49 AM
  • Nick
    PATRIOTS - DE Seymour begins camp holdout
    by Nick
    Seymour absent as camp opens, starts holdout
    Friday, July 29, 2005
    Associated Press

    FOXBORO, Mass. -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour was not on the field for the opening practice of New England's training camp on Friday, starting what could be a lengthy holdout.

    Seymour's absence would further erode the core of the Patriots' defense. A day earlier, veteran linebacker Ted Johnson unexpectedly announced his retirement. And last week, Tedy Bruschi said he would sit out the entire 2005 season while he recovers from a mild stroke, leaving New England without either of its starting inside linebackers from last year's championship team.

    Seymour, who wants to re-negotiate a contract that has two years remaining, also did not report to the team's June mini-camp.

    Drafted sixth overall in 2001 by the Patriots out of Georgia, he was named to the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons. He missed the last game of the regular season and the AFC playoffs last year with a knee injury, but returned for the Super Bowl, logging two tackles, including a sack of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.

    Seymour signed his six-year, $14.3 million deal in 2001, his rookie year.

    Although holdouts are common in the NFL, the Patriots have largely been spared in recent years. Several high-profile players have signed below-market deals to remain with the team, including Bruschi and quarterback Tom Brady.
    -07-29-2005, 11:43 AM
  • Nick
    Pasquarelli discusses Delhomme's new contract, among other things
    by Nick
    Delhomme's Pact Could Affect Couch, Warner
    By Len Pasquarelli

    It is called lagniappe, an old Cajun word that roughly translates into "a little bit extra," and a term with which Carolina Panthers quarterback and dyed-in-the-gumbo Louisiana native Jake Delhomme was familiar, long before he agreed Thursday morning to his pricey new five-year contract extension.

    Rewarding their emerging star with a contract that reportedly could be worth as much as $38 million, a deal criticized in some NFL precincts because there remains a core group of skeptics anxious to see if Delhomme was just a one-year wonder, certainly represented a heaping helping of lagniappe ladled out by Panthers management. No matter where one sides in the debate, though, the contract inarguably was aimed at providing security for both parties to the extension.

    Good news, Carolina management hopes, for a franchise now suddenly resurrected and seeking to sustain newfound success and to create stability. And absolutely great news for an itinerant quarterback whose league resume included just two regular-season starts before 2003.

    But bad news -- very bad news, in fact, it says here -- for signal-callers such as Tim Couch, Kurt Warner and Kordell Stewart. How do we draw a correlation between Delhomme's contract and the fortunes of those veteran quarterbacks?

    Because players like Couch have recently been forced into a kind of wait-until-next-year mindset, one in which they sign short-term deals in the hopes of finding a far more appealing employment market next March, when they will be free agents and perhaps have a chance to pursue a starting job. And contracts like the one Delhomme signed, in the big picture, mean there aren't going to be as many vacant starting spots in the NFL as some observers suggest there might be.

    It is, to be sure, one of the NFL's most notable dichotomies. Everyone focuses closely on the movement of quarterbacks in the league every spring, and this year was no different, as 19 quarterbacks had switched franchises at last count. But in a league where the best-kept secret appears to be the number of teams that have cemented their starters in place over the last few years, many of them with deals of astonishing length, few quarterbacks who changed addresses actually upgraded their status.

    Here's a fact-and-fiction proposition: It's a fact that the 32 quarterbacks projected to be starters in 2004 have an average of 4.4 more seasons remaining on their current contracts, meaning they are locked in through 2007. So it is fiction to assume that a slew of No. 1 spots will become available next spring, or even the offseason after that.

    The late-blooming Delhomme is the latest beneficiary of a trend in which teams have sought to reverse the quarterback carousel and put a stop to the calliope tune that annually accompanies...
    -06-18-2004, 02:40 PM