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Sunday, February 26, 2006 

Adam's Rib

The Patriots' handling of Adam Vinatieri's contact is a big story around the league. Unless he re-signs by Friday, he'll be a free agent, and I bet Bill Parcells is already salivating. While the Patriots refuse to pay anyone top dollar, I wonder if Parcells and Jerry Jones will show the same restraint. On the other hand, I doubt that the Patriots will try to give Vinatieri less money per year, but more years and more guaranteed money - that sounds like something a potential suitor might try to lure him away from the Patriots.

While Belichick can claim this is driven by the uncertainty over the next CBA, but the reality is that the Patriots have set a value for Vinatieri, just like any other player. Vinatieri did have a relatively poor season (20-for-25 on field goals, plus a key miss against Denver in the playoffs), but his kickoffs are improving, so I don't think leg strength is a problem. He does have a history of back trouble, and maybe that is partially driving the Patriots' plans. The Patriots have never put popularity ahead of value during negotiations, and I doubt they'll start now.

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