Does Caserio's contract clause with Patriots violate NFL rules?

Does Caserio's contract clause with Patriots violate NFL rules?

The tampering dispute between the Patriots and Houston Texans over Pats director of player personnel Nick Caserio appears to be settled - for now - after an exchange of statements Friday between Robert Kraft and Texans CEO Cal McNair.

Still, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out that the clause in Caserio's contract that keeps him from leaving for other teams being questioned. "Some in league circles are now asking whether the Caserio clause complies with league rules," as Florio puts it.

Other teams thinking the Patriots are violating league rules? When has that ever happened?

This is the part of the NFL's anti-tampering rule that's the focus of the issue:

"..the inquiring club is prepared to offer a position as a high-level employee . . . the employer club may not deny the employee the opportunity to discuss and accept such employment.”

Seeking a Patriots employee to become your team's general manager would certainly qualify as "high-level." Florio reports that one source says at least one other team's non-"high-level" employee had a similar clause and when it was challenged, the NFL ultimately invalidated it.

The NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Texans asked what they would have to give up in a trade to get Caserio, whose Patriots contract is up after the 2020 draft.

The Texans will reportedly go without a GM this season. Sounds as if this is far from over.

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Patriots are overcomplicating Tom Brady's contract

Patriots are overcomplicating Tom Brady's contract

Tom Brady wants to finish his career with the Patriots. The Patriots have said they intend to make sure he does exactly that.

But each day that passes brings Brady closer to playing a regular season game in the final year of his deal. 

Which brings into play all that accompanies that reality. Risk of injury. Possibility of free agency. The mind-boggling fact a player who’s taken tens of millions less and helped earn the franchise hundreds of millions has to go hat in hand to get his last deal.

This is the best quarterback in NFL history on the most successful dynasty in NFL history. This final contract adjustment will be the transaction that keeps him from following legends like Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Brett Favre into a vagabond end to his career.

And the Patriots don't seem to have a cohesive plan on how they want to get it done. 

There’s a perceived inevitability that Brady will get a new deal before the start of the season. My understanding is that timetable is no sure thing and that — until substantial progress is made — no outcome should be ruled out.

What’s the deal with the deal? The two sides are talking. That’s progress. That wasn’t happening prior to the Super Bowl. It wasn’t happening in March. It wasn’t happening in May. And Brady wasn’t discussing it at minicamp in June.

I haven’t gotten the impression it’s a Cold War but it’s not terribly collegial either. Which is status quo when Brady and his agent Don Yee pull up to the table and try to determine a fair wage.

There’s a salary cap to deal with and there’s Brady’s age to consider. And there’s the sense the Patriots aren’t sure exactly how to proceed and want to wait.

I remember speaking to Bill Belichick’s father in February 2002 on the day before Super Bowl 36. Steve Belichick said his son was the most decisive person he’d ever met. So how does one explain this foot-dragging?

Sometimes, not making a decision is a decision in itself. As in 2017 when the Patriots passed on trading Jimmy Garoppolo prior to the season, sat on him as insurance in case of a Brady injury/slippage and then dealt him at a reduced price to San Francisco. The decision to make wasn’t clear in April so the Patriots decided not to make one.

There must come a point, though, where Brady thinks, “What the hell?”

The five $1M incentives Brady was offered last year — of which he hit none — didn’t really sow seeds of gratitude .

Nor did the team’s efforts to replace him with Garoppolo from 2014 to 2017 and Yee — who’s also Garoppolo’s agent — has an understanding of how much the Patriots were willing to spend to keep Garoppolo around to watch Brady play out the string.

So we got ourselves a layered situation. And that’s why Jonathan Kraft’s answer of “let’s see what happens when training camp starts” from Super Bowl week is proving to be a little optimistic.

The Monday report by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero that there’s no new deal “on the horizon” is accurate.

Belichick has encountered a lot in his NFL career, but Brady has become an unsolvable riddle. Belichick planned as if he was going to follow the Bernie Kosar/Drew Bledsoe route with Brady when he drafted Garoppolo. Brady beat that challenge back and sealed his own legacy and Belichick’s in doing so.

Now Brady’s 42, playing like he’s 32 and Belichick still seems to be waiting for some kind of epiphany before he tethers himself to a player Belichick is worried might start playing his age.

Robert Kraft has given every assurance that Brady is here for the duration. Brady wants the same. It’s only as complicated as Belichick decides to make it.

And — with training camp about to start — it’s way more complicated than it has to be. 

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Here's where Boston teams rank on Forbes' 2019 most valuable franchise list


Here's where Boston teams rank on Forbes' 2019 most valuable franchise list

There's never been a better time to own a professional sports franchise, particularly in Boston. 

Forbes released its annual ranking of the 50 most valuable franchises in sports this week, and three Boston teams -- the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox -- made the list. The Boston Bruins did not make the list, but neither did any other NHL franchise. In fact, even if the list was expanded to 70 franchises, there still wouldn't have been any NHL teams ranked.

The Celtics came in at No. 22 (tied with the NFL's Houston Texans) with a value of $2.8 billion. The Chicago Bulls (No. 19), Golden State Warriors (No. 9), Los Angeles Lakers (No. 8) and New York Knicks (No. 5) are the only NBA teams ahead of the Celtics.

The Red Sox are slotted at No. 12 (tied with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams) with a value of $3.2 billion. The Los Angeles Dodgers (No. 10) and New York Yankees (No. 2) are the MLB franchises ahead of the Red Sox.

The Patriots, at No. 7, are the highest-ranked Boston team on the list with a value of $3.8 billion. The Dallas Cowboys (No. 1) are the only NFL team ranked ahead of the Pats. The Patriots have won six Super Bowl titles since 2000, which easily is the most over that span and tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most such championships in NFL history. New England has made 10 Super Bowl appearance since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994, so it's safe to say Kraft has enjoyed a nice return on his $175 million investment to purchase the team.

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