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Was it worth it?

There’s a lot of behind the scenes talks we don’t know about, but was Asante Samuel‘s hold out worth it? He has been absent for all of training camp and three pre-season games and now elects to return but what does he have to show for it? He doesn’t have the lucrative long-term deal his sitting out was supposed to get him. He does now, however, become a very rich man who went from making league minimum to $7.79 million. Many around the league banked that turning down a nearly $8 million dollar contract would be very hard for Samuel to do. In 2006, Asante tied perennial Pro Bowl Denver Broncos corner Champ Bailey for the league lead in interceptions with 10. Samuel felt that was reason enough to pay him with a big deal. However, the Patriots and the league still don’t view Asante to be in the same class as Bailey… yet. There is no doubt that the Pats, as of today, are MUCH stronger than they were just the day before, and it’s all because of Asante’s return. Samuel has the potential to move into that next level of shutdown corner, but can he do so this season having missed so much time? Missing time and having nothing to show for it is a waste of the pre-season and could bite him come this season. This pre-season was the time for Asante to help educate rookies like Brandon Meriweather and also for him to hone his own skills to become that elite corner. I respect a man for wanting to get what he feels he deserves, but after the dust clears and you come out with the same deal you could have signed months ago, it makes me feel like you didn’t do anything but waste time and that doesn’t just hurt yourself, it hurts your team. Because yes, Asante Samuel IS an excellent player and that’s why it’s detrimental to not have him on the field. Maybe Samuel got a promise from Belichick (doubtful) that he won’t slap the franchise tag on him next offseason, maybe then, and only then, would this holdout have been worth the trouble. Maybe he thought that the Pats newfound “shopaholic” attitude would equate to dollars signs for him too. He should have known better having seen many of his comrades leave the Patriots with no deal and usually in worth situations. No player (outside of Tom Brady) is more important than anyone else on this team. No player can command money or expect it. ANY player is expendable; if you won’t the do the job, there’s a kid on the practice squad drinking the Belichick kool-aid who can and will do it. It’s just the Patriot’s way.

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